Additional Health Benefits Of Walking
- Reduce and/or maintain an optimal weight
- Keep blood pressure under control
- Improve the levels of total cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and dementia
Walking also helps increase the production of endorphins , decreasing the overall perception of pain.6
Why Is Walking Making My Lower Back Hurt
Warning: This chapter gets a bit nerdy and technical.
This is most common in people with stenosis or degenerative disc disease. Remember stenosis means narrowing and specifically it means narrowing of the hole where the nerve comes out. But remember that the hole itself is not a fixed hole, it is two half circles that move when you move. Walking is not so simple. Biomechanically when we walk we have motion from the top down and bottom up that occurs and drives motion through the cross roads of the body called the lower back.
Remember when we talked about how the nerve in the lower back comes out of a hole and travels down each leg creating the sciatic nerve. Remember when we talked about the three ways to compress or close the hole in the lower back. In case you forgot, The three ways to close the hole are backwards bending, opposite side rotation, same side side-bending. So lets talk about walking
Motion occurs during walking because of The top down motion from your arms swinging and bottom up from your legs moving. All of which drives motion into the lower back.
Possible Causes Of Pain When Standing
In some cases, your pain may be caused by a strain, a sprain, or simple muscle fatigue. If the pain has appeared after overexertion, an accident, or a sports injury, you may have stretched or twisted a tendon or ligament . Other causes of pain while standing include:
- Spinal stenosis a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on spinal nerves
- Hyperlordosis curvature of the lower spine
- Herniated disc when part of a disc that acts as a cushion between two vertebrae, slips out of place, possibly compressing a nerve
- Spondylolisthesis when a lumbar vertebra slips forward onto the bone beneath it
- Neuropathy damage to peripheral nerves that may cause weakness, numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet
- Osteoarthritis damage to joints of the spine, known as facet joints, usually as a result of aging
- Pinched nerves resulting from pressure from bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons
- Sciatica pressure on the sciatic nerve that causes pain in the hips, buttocks, and legs
How To Treat Lower Back Pain After A Workout
The first step to take when suffering from lower back pain after a workout: Think happy thoughts, says Malek. “The way you feel about your back in terms of beliefs about it, what it can do, and its outcome directly affects the pain and how well it turns out for you. Try to think positive thoughts,” she explains.
In the next few hours and days, get your back checked out by a professional, and try to keep it moving in a way that feels comfortable and doesn’t exacerbate the pain, suggests Malek. “Try not to worry about being very stiff and protecting it, unless you feel like that’s the only way that you can get through your day,” she explains. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, consider performing some gentle isometric core exercises, such as bird dogs, dead bugs, and bridges, as they can help relieve back pain, says Malek.
Depending on the severity of your situation, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you slowly work your way back to normal activity, and they may suggest stretches or strengthening exercises that gradually increase in load, says Malek. “When you go in this protective mode, where you just hold your back straight and you don’t bend over, the pain calms down. But four weeks later, you have to bend over to pick something up, that’s when you’ll feel it again,” she explains. Translation: Movement is key on the path toward recovery.
Use A Quality Treadmill
When choosing a treadmill, consider the following specifications of the machine:
- Horsepower Look for a treadmill that has a motor with at least 1.5 continuous-duty horsepower . If you run very frequently on a treadmill, one with a CDH of 2.5 to 3.0 may be a better choice.
- Belt size You want a treadmill with a belt that is at least 48 inches long and 18 inches wide. For runners over 6 feet tall, look for a treadmill with a 54-inch long belt.
- Incline Look for a treadmill that allows for an incline of up to 10%. A decline feature can also give you a better simulation of running outdoors.
- Control panel A quality treadmill will have a control panel that is simple to use and is within easy reach.
- Cushioning When trying out a new treadmill, you should look for one that will absorb shock and not move with every strike of your foot.
- Speed If you use the treadmill primarily for running, get one that goes up to 10 mph or higher.
- Stability Look for a treadmill that has a stable frame and doesnt shake when walking or running.
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If Youre Experiencing Back Pain Let Us Help You
At Spine Works Institute, we take pride in helping patients through safe and natural therapies. We have an entire team of physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals who are ready to assist you.
Call us at 616-0700 to schedule an appointment, or learn more about our practice here.
How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
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Causes Of Lower Back Pain
Lower backache is one of the most often cited reasons for patients to seek treatment seek medical treatment it is also one of the major causes of lost workdays. A simple search online will reveal that back pain can be caused by anything from dehydration to trauma, but there are certain risk factors that contribute to a higher likelihood of this type of injury. In order to prevent lower back pain, you should make sure that youre exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and not sitting in the same place for too long.
Back spasms can be caused by back muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries, or they might be a symptom of more serious medical problems. Back spasms are frequently caused by heavy lifting. According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting and twisting can lead to back spasms. Even if youre not lifting heavy things, you may be at risk of injuring your back. For example, turning your head quickly while reaching can cause a back spasm. In addition, bending over to put something on the floor could strain the ligaments in your lower back.
Along with heavy lifting, any movement that puts an excessive amount of strain on the lower back muscles and ligaments might result in damage. Football and golf are also sports that can induce back spasms since they require the back to turn abruptly and frequently.
Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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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.
How To Soothe The Pain At Home
Now on to the home remedies and tips on how to reduce leg pain after walking.
Simple Home Remedies
Like mentioned before, you dont need to worry about your legs hurting after a walk. If you ever do experience calf pain or swelling in the legs, home remedies are easily available.
One of the most common solutions is to massage. This can help flush out the excess lactic acid from the legs. This also aids the legs to pump out pooled blood and receive oxygenated blood. Of course, getting a massage from a specialist can be a bit of a hassle. Which is why SPRYNG is the perfect alternative. This muscle recovery tool uses active compression pads to mimic the skeletal pump of the calf muscles. Therefore, enabling the legs to flush out the lactic acid and get rid of the pooled blood. You can now recover from leg pain in no time!
Anti-inflammatory Ointments and Gels
Applying some of these ointments and gels can also do the trick. It is one of the easiest home remedies for leg pain. If it is something like DOMS, it should help ease the soreness. However, if the pain or swelling persists, it is best to consult a sports physician.
Another simple home remedy is to apply ice. Such an application to the legs will help the body reduce blood flow to the stressed area. This not only reduces inflammation, but also reduces pain from DOMS. Even if you do suffer from the other diseases mentioned, ice acts as a temporary solution for managing the pain, until you consult a specialist.
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What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
Lower Back Pain Generator Important To Treatment Selection
Sitting, standing, and walking can worsen or improve the severity of lower back pain. These symptoms can help identify the anatomic culprit or pain generator. This knowledge aids in selecting the optimal treatment regimen for a painful lower back.
Dankaerts W, OSullivan P, Burnett A, Straker L. Differences in sitting postures are associated with nonspecific chronic low back pain disorders when patients are subclassified. Spine. 2006 31:698-704.
Lord MJ, Small JM, Dinsay JM, Watkins RG. Lumbar lordosis: effects of sitting and standing. Spine. 1997 22:2571-2574.
Maigne JY, Lapeyre E, Moryan G, Chatellier G. Pain immediately upon sitting down and relieved by standing up is often associated with radiologic lumbar instability or marked anterior loss of disc space. Spine. 2003 28:1327-1334.
Sheeran L, van Deursen R, Caterson B, Sparkes V. Classification-guided versus generalized postural intervention in subgroups of nonspecific chronic low back pain: a pragmatic randomized controlled study. Spine. 2013 38:1613-1625.
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Part : Assess Lumbar Flexibility & Motion To Reduce Lower Back Pain
Research has shown that relationships exist between flexibility and low back pain. Several studies have found correlation between tight hamstring musculature and increased risk of lower back pain. This is due to compensatory movements of the pelvis and lumbar spine when muscle groups such as the hamstrings, gluteals, psoas, and piriformis are restricted by lack of flexibility. Overall, tight lower extremity muscles increase stress on the spine and can put a person at risk for lower back pain. Use the following tests to assess your personal level of flexibility and range of motion of the lower back to reduce back pain after walking and hiking. Note: some tests require the observation of another person to identify weakness, movement compensation, limitations, and positive findings.
90/90 Straight Leg Raise Test:
Begin by laying on your back on a flat surface. Flex your hips and knees to 90 degrees. Maintain this position and grasp behind each thigh to stabilize your hips. Next, straighten one leg as much as possible. Bring the leg back to 90 degrees and repeat for the other leg. For this test, hamstring muscle tightness is indicated if either leg is unable to extend the knee within 20 degrees of full knee extension. The optimal range for hamstring flexibility is 80-90 degrees flexion.
Extension: 20-35 degrees of movement, the person must place their hands on their hips in order to stabilize the movement and not compensate with pelvic movements.
Seated Piriformis Test:
Simple Steps To Ease Back Pain Caused By Spinal Stenosis
There are some simple steps you can take to bring the pain associated with this condition back under control.
Most people think that standing upright is good for your posture and will ultimately help. This is in fact not always true and especially not if you have spinal stenosis!
Allowing yourself to lean forward slightly or slouch will do a great deal to bring your symptoms under control. Long gone are the days when we thought that everyone should maintain a military posture at all times for their health!
Being assessed and treated by one of the expert specialists at HT Physio can also help this condition. With the appropriate postural advice, stretches for your legs and certain pain relieving techniques, the outcome from treatment with us is often on par with that of a successful surgical case.
We wouldnt usually recommend surgery for this condition partly because the risk of complications are so high!
The other reason is that its not guaranteed that you will get a successful outcome in fact far from it. A recent study showed the following when people had spinal surgery for their back pain:
One third of people got a good outcome
One third of people got no change to their symptoms
And one third of people actually got worse following surgery!
In summary, pain in your back when you walk could be for a number of reasons, but most of them would fall under the category of mechanical back pain.
As always, thanks for reading.
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Reasons Why Your Lower Back Hurts When You Walk
As a lower back specialist who has worked with thousands of people suffering with lower back pain and having experienced over a year of lower back pain myself and every possible intervention known to man I know for a fact that the number one difficulty when someone has back pain is walking. Now Im here to share with you why that is. Here are the 5 most common reasons why walking is so hard and painful when your back hurts.
If you would like to learn more about Lower Back Pain and Sciatica and strategies to reduce pain and allow for pain free walking you should consider attending our lower back pain and sciatica workshop. You can click the image below to learn more.