Do you have trouble walking through the grocery store?   One of the signs of spinal stenosis is that you lean up against the shopping cart when you walk around the store and your back and legs feel better.  This is most likely due to spinal stenosis.   What is spinal stenosis?  Well it is when the disc, bones, and the ligaments thicken or degenerate around the spinal nerves which causes the nerve to be rubbed on as people move particularly when they walk or stand.  Stenosis usually hits people aged 60 or older.  It will cause pain and or numbness into the legs and back.  Sitting seems to relieve the pain.   Bending forward at the waist will open up the spaces between the bones of the spine giving the nerve a “little extra room.”  The Grocery Cart Sign is when a person leans forward on the grocery cart when they walk through the aisles. When they bend way over and lean their arms on the cart, it helps open the holes up. It feels better and it allows them to get through the store without being completely miserable. Many don’t even mess with the cart and go straight to the motorized buggy to get their shopping done.   Can anything be done for the spine to open up the spaces between the vertebra beside surgery?  You bet.   Current research has demonstrated that conservative non invasive care can show excellent results with spinal stenosis.  The research recommends 2 visits a week for 6 weeks of spinal manipulation and exercises to stretch and strengthen specific muscle groups and teaching the patient how to walk and move about while making some more space and reduce pressure around the nerves.    The most important thing to understand is that stenosis does not always require surgery. Surgery should never take place without first trying nonpharmacological, non-invasive treatment and a solid evidence-based, patient-centered chiropractor is an excellent place to begin searching for solutions.   Click the video below for one of the best stretches you can do for spinal stenosis.


Dr. Craig Benton

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