More than half of the total adult population report lower back pain when walking at some point in their lives. Usually, this widespread issue is due to poor posture as more people got into sitting jobs lately. For the most part, learning proper posture, losing weight, or improving desk ergonomics solves it.
Unfortunately, many people notice chronic pain at a stage where improving posture doesn’t seem to help. In such cases, the reasons might include medical conditions like spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease.
Likelihood of Lower Back Pain
Back pain, in general, is not so unique among aged individuals. Usually, people between 30 to 50 years of age are most likely to experience lower back pain. Yet, age is not a deterministic factor by any means. For instance, you may also get lower back pain if your daily activities include tons of sitting or standing.
Needless to say, people who went through any spinal injuries or accidents may also experience it. Besides, poor posture during walking and desk work increases the chances of lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain Symptoms
At first, the symptoms begin with a slight feeling of one-sided back pain on either left or right side. Sometimes, chronic pain can spread throughout the lower back, followed by neck pain. With that said, the pain level or duration in daily life can vary quite a bit from person to person.
Eventually, syndromes like weakness, weight loss, and fever start to show up more often. Meanwhile, a few individuals might as well experience bowel incontinence or similar medical conditions.
Is It Ok to Walk With Lower Back Pain
Unless you are experiencing lower back pain accompanied by leg pain, walking as a form of gentle exercise should be okay. Especially if your pain is somewhat chronic, walking is far better as compared to intense physical activity.
However, walking can cause unbearable pain in case of spinal injuries. Therefore, such individuals should consider getting medical advice before they try walking as a form of exercise.
Lower Back Pain Better When Walking
In most cases, people feel a sense of pain relief when walking, thanks to the benefits it has to offer. With that said, walking helps fight back lower back pain in the following ways.
- It helps strengthen the leg muscles as well as the muscles in the torso and hips. As a result, the stability of your spinal column improves by a large margin.
- Walking keeps the spinal column nourished while treating tissue injuries by enhancing nutrient circulation into them.
- While walking, the iliocostalis, spinalis, and longissimus erector muscles get stretched. Hence, the entire body becomes more flexible, which helps retain correct posture.
- The constricted blood vessels of the spine open up during regular walks, increasing blood flow into the spinal muscles.
- Regular walking keeps medical conditions like osteoporosis away by strengthening the bones.
- Last but not least, maintaining a healthy weight becomes easier through walking.
How Long Should I Walk With Lower Back Pain
For beginners, a 5 to 10-minute walk at any point of the day is a good start. Once you get used to this routine, you may increase the duration bit by bit. Based on your health condition, you may use an elliptical machine or a regular treadmill.
Although the risk factors involved are pretty negligible, you can try to walk in a shallow pool. That way, you will experience a noticeable amount of pain relief, enough to get you through a 5-minute walk.
Lower Back Pain When Walking
Though walking is an easy home remedy, some find it painfully hard. Therefore, it should not be the go-to solution based on poor evidence. In fact, those with chronic pain should undergo a thorough physical exam to see the bigger picture. That is to say, quite a handful of reasons can provoke lower back pain when walking.
Increased pressure on the lumbar spine, known as postural stress, can cause lower back pain. However, this is mainly evident in people who tend to stand for long hours. But the pain becomes prominent when the person tries to walk more than a few steps.
Luckily, postural stress is more common and can be cured through physical therapy and cold therapy. Nevertheless, not all provoking conditions are that easy to overthrow and require expert advice. A few of them are as follows.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a medical condition that refers to the narrowing down of one’s spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal column. And when it occurs in the lumbar spine and causes lower back pain, we call it lumbar spinal stenosis.
Do note that spinal stenosis is more common among senior citizens, usually aging over 50. But a few individuals might have a narrow spinal canal since birth, while a few others experience it after accidents. Either way, people reported a reduction in pain levels while leaning forward during a walk or sitting down.
- Some of the prognostic factors related to spinal stenosis are:
- Feeling numb near the lower back and buttocks.
- Sometimes a tingling sensation is felt through the legs.
- Weak legs.
- Sciatica, a sharp pain in the lower back that gradually spreads downwards.
- Bowel incontinence and bladder problems in severe cases.
Based on moderate evidence from relevant studies, a doctor may prescribe a treatment option from the following.
- Take an appointment with a physical therapist.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
- Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies.
- Steroid injections.
A curved lumbar spine, resulting in a stuck-out stomach and more prominent buttocks, is known as hyperlordosis. Primarily, it occurs due to poor posture and lack of physical exercise. Yet, a doctor may diagnose spondylolisthesis, rickets, or osteoporosis based on previous studies.
- A C-shaped curvature in the spinal muscles when lying down on a straight surface.
- Spinal pain near the lower back.
- Hip pain increases during physical exercise.
At least one primary intervention among the following is necessary if you experience spinal pain due to hyperlordosis.
- Use a back brace or lumbar roll alongside cold packs.
- Physical therapy.
- OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Corrective surgeries.
Degenerative Disc Disease
It is a medical condition in which the spinal bones go through friction due to the shrinkage of vertebral discs. Generally, doctors use involuntary contraction to study characteristics of degenerative disc disease. Though this issue gets better through gentle exercise on pain, emergency symptoms may arise from lifting weight.
- Varying pain intensity and duration.
- Debilitating symptoms while walking.
- The spinal pain eventually reaches the buttocks and thighs.
- Leg pain.
- Numbness due to the damaged posterior column.
- Use a heating pad or cold packs.
- Aggravating exercise for the paraspinal muscles.
- Wear back braces.
- Enroll in weight loss programs.
- Conservative treatments such as non-surgical spinal decompression, acupuncture, and laser therapy.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injection for pain management.
Lower Back Pain When Walking Overweight
Generally, if you have additional weight over what we call optimal weight, your back pain is most likely due to muscle fatigue.
Muscle fatigue occurs when the spinal muscles near the lower back get tired and strained due to excessive physical activities. Eventually, constant pain in the lower back occurs, followed by muscle spasms. In such cases, leaning forward while sitting and lying down can help with pain management.
Aside from losing weight and eating a balanced diet, you can try out the measures below to notice a reduction in pain levels.
- Take a rest.
- Apply cold therapy.
- Stretching exercise to loosen up the tight muscles.
- Use an OTC (Over the Counter) pain reliever like naproxen and ibuprofen as pain medication.
Left Lower Back Pain When Walking
While some people report sharp chronic pain, others point towards duller one-sided back pain. No matter what, the causes for lower left back pain are pretty much the same.
Nine out of ten times, it occurs due to soft tissue injuries of the spinal and paraspinal muscles. Besides, it can be due to severe issues related to internal organs such as kidneys, uterus, intestines, and pancreas.
Last but not least, an injured spinal column with damaged discs and facet joints can cause constant pain on the left side. For example, disc herniation and osteoarthritis in the facet joints are probable causes. Luckily, the cure for these issues includes resting, avoiding strenuous activities, and visiting a physical therapist.
When to See a Doctor
You should see a doctor unless you notice a reduction in pain levels even after exercise on pain or cold therapies. Moreover, seek help if the pain is unbearable and brings emergency symptoms of organ damages along. Loss of bowel control falls into that category of symptoms, for example.
On the subject of lower back pain when walking, doctors don’t prescribe surgical solutions right away. First, they suggest home remedies if the risk factors are not alarming. After that, alternative therapies come into suggestion, at which the doctors at Delray Disc and Spine are among the best.
Here, you will find specific treatments of lower back pain depending on your evaluation. Most interestingly, the first consultation is free of cost. So, schedule one for yourself to improve your quality of life today.