How to Relieve Lower Back Pain While Walking
A back injury takes a heavy toll on your body because the back muscles help you move your neck, head, shoulders, arms and legs. If you are experiencing pain, even small movements hurt, and the more active you are, the worse it can get.
Walking is a healthy exercise as it has a low impact while raising your heart rate and burning calories. Almost anyone can do it, but if this also causes discomfort in your back, your choices for exercise are even more limited.
There are solutions to help you gain back this basic function. This is how to relieve lower back pain while walking.
Learn About Lower Back Pain
Your lower back is called the lumbar region, consisting of 5 vertebrae. While it doesn’t seem like a big area, it does a lot of heavy lifting and overuse, injury, or disease, which causes all too familiar back pain.
Among the most common causes of lower back pain are:
This could be from a fall, workplace injury, or car accident, but the resulting pain is the same. A quick turn or carrying something heavy can cause strain and back pain. You’ll need to wear a back brace for recovery.
Arthritis of the spine is a degeneration of the spinal joints; over time, it develops into chronic pain. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, inflammation can occur, while friction in the joints worsens it.
A herniated disc is a bulge or spilling out of the jelly-like nucleus inside the disc. As it presses on the surrounding nerves, you experience back pain and other symptoms like numbness, tingling and weakness.
Practice Good Posture
We all walk during our day, and it may be as simple as getting to your place of work or dedicating an extended walk to exercise. The last thing we think about when walking is our posture, which often leads to lower back pain.
Walking the right way aligns your spine with your body, so weight is evenly distributed and takes the pressure off your extremities. This way, with each step you take, your body is better able to cushion the impact. Here are some tips for a better walking posture:
- Keep your head up and avoid looking down, as it puts extra strain on the neck.
- Avoid slouching and let your shoulders move naturally through your stride.
- Keep your stomach pulled in to lower your centre of gravity.
- Take shorter strides while pushing from your rear leg.
- Pay attention to your footwork with your heel hitting the ground first, rolling through the ball and pushing off with the toes.
- Keep your ears, shoulders and hips straight so your spine is neutral.
Have Good Footwear
A lot of lower back pain from walking comes from low arches or flat feet. This engages your lower back, causing it to stretch more because of a misalignment with your muscles, bones and ligaments.
Buy the best walking shoes you can afford, and consider getting orthotics. These special inserts support your feet to gain stability, better alignment, and correct your gait. Different shoes will cause your feet to adjust while walking, leading to various postures contributing to lower back pain.
Fortunately, once you are fitted with proper orthotics, you can transfer them to any shoes you put on.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
As mentioned above, your lower back carries lots of weight and constantly makes balancing adjustments as you walk. Any additional weight on your frame only adds pressure, which in turn can increase pain.
Having back pain while walking discourages you from the activity, and this can be a catch-22, where you move around less and, therefore, get less weight-shedding exercise.
Practice a healthy lifestyle of nutritious eating and exercise to get to a weight that your body is comfortable with. You don’t have to be a star athlete or starve yourself. Just make smart choices with your eating and activities to shed the extra pounds so your back has less work to do.
While walking is a great exercise, if it is causing lower back pain, you should add other exercises to relieve this area. Yoga is ideal for releasing tension and gaining flexibility for your back. You will want to be careful not to do poses that push you past your body’s limit and take your time to get each pose’s full benefits. General stretching is also great and is a good idea before and after your regular walks.
Working with a physical therapist is perfect because they take you through targeted exercises to remedy injuries and strengthen the affected area. Massage therapy may also be added as this improves movement and releases strain from your lower back.
This is how to relieve lower back pain. You should practice these methods to gain relief during and after walking. Ultimately, it is impossible to avoid walking, so we all need to do whatever it takes to lessen the pain and restore our backs to their optimal function.