How Do I Stop My Lower Back From Hurting When I Walk
The posture you have when walking matters more than you think. Walking places a tremendous amount of weight on the spine, which can affect the support structure of the rest of the body. If you experience back pain when you walk, your posture may be the underlying cause.
So how do you stop your lower back from hurting when you walk? While the overarching answer can be different depending on the individual, improvements to your gait and general posture is an excellent start.
What Is The Tailbone/coccyx
Your coccyx is made up of three to five fused vertebrae . It lies beneath the sacrum, a bone structure at the base of your spine. Several tendons, muscles and ligaments connect to it. Both the coccyx and the ischial tuberosities bear your weight when you sit down. Two-thirds of adults have a coccyx that curves a bit instead of pointing straight down, but one that is curved too far is abnormal and, therefore, painful.
Back Cracking And Back Pain Relief
Cracking the facet joints is known to provide temporary relief from low back stiffness or joint pressure. More research is needed to identify any long-term benefits of back cracking.
Manual manipulation, a common method of back and neck pain relief, may focus on adjusting the facet joints to provide a healing environment and reduce pain. These adjustments may create a cracking sound.
Medical literature suggests that manual manipulation of the facet joints can contribute to decreased stiffness, improved range of motion, and a temporary reduction in pain.2 Manual manipulation, also called spinal adjustments, is commonly provided by chiropractors and osteopathic physicians.
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When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
Lower Back Pain And Cancer
Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.
Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .
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Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
What Causes Low Back Pain
It might develop suddenly, like after you lift something heavy. Or it might come on slowly.
As you get older, the structure of your back begins to show wear and tear. Doctors call it âspondylosis,â which means your spineâs joints, disks, and vertebrae get worse over time. This slow decline can lead to many problems, like the following:
- Strains. This means you overstretch or tear your tendons or muscle. You can do this by twisting, lifting something thatâs too heavy, or lifting something the wrong way.
- Degenerated disks. When these are healthy, they cushion your back as you bend, flex, and twist. As disks begin to wear out, they no longer absorb the shock of these movements well.
- Herniated or ruptured disks. Normal disks are rubbery. When they become squeezed, a portion bulges out between your vertebrae.
- Radiculopathy. A spinal nerve can become pinched or inflamed. This can cause low back pain to travel down your legs. It can also cause numbness or tingling.
- Sciatica. This is the type of radiculopathy that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from your butt down the backs of your legs. When itâs inflamed, you may feel burning or pain like an electrical shock that may go all the way down to your feet.
- Spondylolisthesis. In this condition, a vertebra slips out of place and pinches spinal nerves.
- Spinal stenosis. Your spinal column may narrow over time, putting pressure on your nerves. Your legs may feel numb and grow weaker.
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Conditions Of Bone And Joint Causes Lower Back Pain
Bone and joint conditions: Bone and joint conditions that lead to low back pain include those existing from birth , those that result from wear and tear or injury, and those that are due to inflammation of the joints .
Congenital bone conditions: Congenital causes of low back pain include scoliosis and spina bifida. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can be caused when one lower extremity is shorter than the other or because of an abnormal architecture of the spine . Children who are significantly affected by structural scoliosis may require treatment with bracing and/or surgery to the spine. Adults infrequently are treated surgically but often benefit from support bracing. Spina bifida is a birth defect in the bony vertebral arch over the spinal canal, often with the absence of the spinous process. This birth defect most commonly affects the lowest lumbar vertebra and the top of the sacrum. Occasionally, there are abnormal tufts of hair on the skin of the involved area. Spina bifida can be a minor bony abnormality without symptoms. However, the condition can also be accompanied by serious nervous abnormalities of the lower extremities.
What Can Affect Posture
Slouching isnât just a bad habit. There can be some physical reasons that contribute to poor posture. Muscles that are too tight or that have a smaller range of motion can make it harder for you to position parts of your body correctly.â
The strength of your legs and core muscles can also affect your posture and the way you carry yourself. Your core muscles include muscles in the:
These muscles connect your top and bottom halves. Weak core muscles can cause you to slouch or to move your top half forward more than the bottom half.â
Additionally, our modern lifestyles may contribute to poor posture. Looking down at our phones or sitting at a desk for several hours a day working on a computer changes the way we hold ourselves. You may notice that you are slumped forward when performing these activities, rather than sitting or standing up straight.
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When To Call The Doctor
Most back pain gets better after a few weeks. But you should call the doctor if:
- Your pain is constant or intense, especially at night or when you lie down.
- Your pain spreads down one or both legs.
- You feel numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
- Youâre losing weight without trying.
Go to the emergency room right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain after a fall, car crash or sports injury
- Trouble controlling your bowels or bladder
Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain
Sometimes pain felt in the back actually originates elsewhere in the body. Such problems may include: prostate trouble in men problems with reproductive organs in women kidney diseases, such as an infection or kidney stone diseases of the intestines or pancreas, such as cancer or a blockage cancer that has spread to the spine multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the bone and bone marrow curvature of the spine rarely, a tumor on the spinal cord
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Mechanical Lower Back Pain
Because it represents 97% of cases, mechanical low back pain deserves to be discussed first. To determine the factors that bring out the pain, the doctor will consider the following causes of mechanical low back pain:
- Muscle strain.
- Spondylolisthesis .
- Osteoarthritis .
- Spinal stenosis .
Low back pain that gets worse with sitting may indicate a herniated lumbar disc . This is because certain positions of the body can change the amount of pressure that an out-of-place disc can press on a nerve. This is one reason we suggest to people with low back pain to periodically get up and stretch or walk around rather than continually stay sitting. Acute onset, that is, pain that comes on suddenly, may suggest a herniated disc or a muscle strain, as opposed to a more gradual onset of pain, which fits more with osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.
Causes Of Popping Noise In The Lower Back
Cracking or popping sounds that result from joint manipulation are mostly considered harmless.
However, medical help must be sought if the noise is accompanied by pain. The spine is an important part of the human skeletal system. It comprises twenty-four vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral discs.
Popping or clicking sounds could sometimes be a sign of excessive strain on the lumbar region. The lumbar spine, which is commonly referred to as thelower back, is the lowest section of the spine. Just below the lumbar spine, lies the weight-bearing joint known as the sacroiliac joint.
Problems are most likely to arise if the lumbar vertebrae or the sacroiliac joints are strained beyond tolerable limits.
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You Have Unexplained Weight Loss
If you experience sudden weight loss that can’t be explained by diet and lifestyle changes, then you should always pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true when the unexplained weight loss is accompanied by back pain. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition, such as an infection or tumor.
What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The vast majority of patients experience back pain because of mechanical reasons. They strain a muscle from heavy lifting or twisting, suffer a sudden jolt in a car accident, experience stress on spinal bones and tissues resulting in a , or suffer from osteoarthritis, a potentially painful degeneration of one or more spinal joints. Common causes for low back pain are:
- mechanical or functional injury
- active infection
- referred pain
To choose the safest and most effective therapy, doctors need to consider the full spectrum of possible underlying issues, such as inflammatory conditions, fracture, infection, as well as some serious conditions unrelated to the back that radiate pain to the back.
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Home Treatment For Lower Back Pain
There are a number of at-home options to treat pain in your lower back:
- Relax. Sometimes just sitting down will relieve enough of the pressure from your lower back to reduce the pain significantly.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These over-the-counter pain relievers include ibuprofen and naproxen . You can purchase NSAIDs here.
- Exercise and stretching. Although exercise is often good for addressing lower back pain, consult with a professional. Some exercises can make the pain worse. For example, avoid toe touches and situps, but try hamstring stretches. Generally getting into better physical health will help reduce lower back pain when standing and doing other everyday activities.
- Stand and sit up straight. Your posture is important for proper weight distribution. Standing and sitting up straight will help.
- Get supportive shoes and orthotics. Get shoes or shoe inserts that help keep your feet in a neutral, supported position.
- Mattress support. Find a mattress that gives you better support than your current one.
- Use heat and ice. As soon as the pain starts, put an ice pack on your lower back for 20 minutes several times a day. After 48 hours, alternate using ice and heat.
- Avoid heavy lifting. Avoid lifting heavy objects. If you must, keep your back straight and bend your legs so the leg muscles do the majority of the work.
- Lose weight. If youre overweight, getting to a healthy weight will improve strain on your back.
Lower Back Pain Caused By Infection
Infections of the spine are not common, but they do occur. The doctor will ask about the usual signs and symptoms of infection, especially when back pain is accompanied by fever and/or chills. Dialysis patients, IV drug users, and patients who have recently had surgery, trauma, or skin infections are at risk for infections of the spine. Infections of the spine can be caused by a number of agents, most commonly bacteria. Doctors will first test for the presence of bacteria, then give antibiotics.
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More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.
Certain risk factors can increase the risk for this injury. The risk factors are:
- Severe lower back curvature
- Weak back or belly muscles
- Tight hamstrings
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What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
When To See A Doctor
Radiating pain can be an important sign of larger problems. If the pain is located in or around the anus, infection or internal damage is possible, which makes it important to see a doctor.
- Prescription pain medication: Narcotics may be prescribed for pain related to sciatica, arthritis, or traumatic pain.
- Antibiotics: These are used to treat infections.
- Spinal injections: These are used to treat chronic or extreme pain.
- Surgical procedures:* If the body does not respond to less invasive techniques or it is deemed that aggressive action is necessary to prevent long-term effects, surgery may be needed.
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