Can walking help back pain?

August 8, 2018Ellen
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Exercise is something I dislike doing.  There’s no point in sugar coating it.  That is why I decided to fit walking in to my day.  Walking is exercise but by fitting it in to my daily routine I fool my brain in to thinking it’s not exercise.  I also don’t need to go to some awful gym where I feel self conscious!

Can walking help back pain?  Yes it can.  Regular walking has been proven to be effective in eliminating the need for pain relief and back braces in some cases.  Walking is a great exercise that anyone can do and it helps keep your joints moving which reduces the risk of injury and helps to maintain the density of your bones.

walking back pain

Many doctors place blame on a sedentary lifestyle for the cause of a lot of back pain problems.  I know from experience that before talking up walking I could sit for nearly four hours at a stretch without moving from my office desk.

Research shows that 7 in 10 people have suffered neck or back pain over the last 10 years.  That is a staggering amount.  Although I am one of those unfortunately! Back pain and back problems are becoming more of an issue which can cost us a lot of money trying to get it sorted.  It cost me so much going to a chiropractor to try and sort my back out. Not to mention the time off work I had with it too

How does walking help lower back pain

When you consider that lower back pain forces 3 in 10 people to take time off work with over 10 million sick days each year with it, it’s important to take steps to help the situation.

Sitting for long periods of time – such as at your desk – puts a lot of pressure on your spine.  In turn this reduces the blood flow to your joints and your muscles.  This in turn leads to stiffness.  This is what I was experiencing before I started walking.  It really didn’t matter how long I was sitting for, each time I got up my bones and muscles hurt.  I was just so stiff.

Walking is an exercise that will get your joints and muscles moving again.  It is low impact making it easier on your back and won’t aggravate it.

  • Walking strengthens your muscles from your lower back, your hips, your legs and even the muscles in your feet and increases the stability of your spine.
  • Walking improves your posture and your flexibility by helping you achieve a greater range of movement which also prevents any potential falls later in life.
  • Walking strengthens your bones and keeps bone density loss to a minimum. It can also help prevent osteoporosis too.
  • Walking helps to keep the spinal structures nourished as it helps with blood flow, circulation and pumping nutrients around the tissue allowing any toxins to be drained away.
  • Walking helps you reduce weight or maintain your weight which reduces the strain on your back.

Many doctors often recommend walking for patients who are experiencing back pain.  In fact there is now clinical guidance on the subject which years ago would have suggested patients with back pain should rest.  That is no longer the case, they recommend that patients with back pain should stay active and one of the ways to do that and not aggravate back pain is to walk.

There is evidence from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to suggest that exercising up to 30 minutes per day for 3 times per week is important for anyone wanting to recover from back pain. Just think by going for a walk 3 times a week you could start to get rid of your lower back pain.  Now that would be fantastic.

Does walking cause lower back pain?

Lower back pain is not caused by walking but what could cause the pain is a bad posture.  It is important to practice a good posture when walking.  If you don’t then it could cause lower back pain.  Good postures requires you to keep your spine in a neutral position, don’t lean forward or back and keep your tummy muscles pulled in to engage your core.  It’s also important to keep your gaze forward, your chin up and certainly don’t walk while looking at your cell phone!

When you master the correct posture you can then concentrate on your pace for walking to relieve or prevent back pain.  Keep a brisk pace to a point where you feel you are breathing at a heavier rate.  Not to the point that you can’t hold a conversation though!

You can start slow if you need to with a 10 minute walk.  You can increase this to 30 minutes and do this for three to four times per week.

These simple tips will ensure you stay free from back pain when walking, they will also help reduce any pain you may have if you are recovering from lower back pain.

Walking prevents you getting lower back pain in the first place

A study was conducted with over 5000 adults.  They found that those who walked on a regular basis was less likely to experience lower back pain.  That is because of all the benefits I have mentioned above about strengthening the bones, muscles and encouraging more movement.  I am also proof that walking has stopped all the aches and pains I was having from sitting on my bum all day.

Tips before you start walking with lower back pain

Before going for a walk it’s important to do some gentle stretching to prepare your muscles for the walk ahead.  This can be anything from marching on the spot to stretching each set of muscles.  This will help with the range of motion of your joints.

There are plenty of stretches on YouTube should you need options but ensure you include stretches that work your upper and lower body including your neck and shoulders.  These were parts of my body that I hold stress so learning to relax them when walking has a positive benefit.

Happy walking!

 
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