Ever felt that niggling ache in your back while out for a stroll? You’re not alone. “Back pain when walking” is a common gripe many of us Brits grumble about.
But why does it happen?
And more importantly, what can you do about it?
Whether it’s a result of those worn-out trainers you’ve been meaning to replace. Or, a deeper underlying issue, understanding the root cause is half the battle.
This guide will investigate the possible sources of this frustrating ache and equip you with practical techniques to return to your usual activity level.
Ready to stride without the strife? Let’s start!
1. Unravelling the Mystery Behind the Pain
Ever twisted your ankle because of those pesky uneven pavements? It’s a bit like how our backs react to everyday activities, especially walking or standing for long periods. Let’s break it down:
- Muscle Sprains and Strains: Think of it as overstretching an elastic band. Over time, it loses its snap. Similarly, overworking our back muscles, especially without proper exercise and stretch, can lead to strains.
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Imagine a narrow tunnel with traffic flowing through. Now, picture that tunnel narrowing down. That’s spinal stenosis for you, where the spinal canal compresses, causing pain.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Our spine’s cushioning discs wear down over time. It’s like an old mattress that’s lost its bounce, leading to discomfort.
- Sciatica: Ever felt a sharp pain shooting down your leg? That’s the sciatic nerve acting up, often due to a pinched nerve in the back.
- Poor Posture: Slouching on the sofa for long periods? It’s the silent culprit affecting your quality of life, causing undue stress on your back.
- Footwear: Ever tried running in heels? It’s not just about the feet; the wrong shoes can wreak havoc on your back.
- Excessive Weight: Carrying excess weight is like lugging around a heavy backpack all day. It strains the back, especially the facet joints.
Many individuals experience lower back pain after prolonged periods of walking or standing. Recognising the triggers and understanding the causes can be the first step towards finding relief.
2. Mastering the Art of Pain-Free Walking
Walking seems simple, right? But, did you know there’s a right way to do it? Maintaining an upright posture is crucial.
Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head. Feel taller? That’s the idea. Engaging your core muscles, those deep belly muscles, provides the spine with the support it craves.
And remember, every step counts. So, why not make each one pain-free?
3. Step Right with the Perfect Shoes
Ever heard the saying, “Walk a mile in someone’s shoes”? Well, make sure they’re supportive. The good news is, there are shoes designed to support the arch and cushion the heel, reducing back strain.
And if you’re not ready to part with your favourite pair, consider orthotics or insoles. They’re like a comfy bed for your feet.
We can help you with custom foot orthotics too.
4. Harness Your Core’s Power
Your core isn’t just about getting that summer-ready look. It’s the backbone (pun intended) of your spine’s support system. Engaging in simple core exercises, like planks or bridges, can work wonders.
And consistency? That’s the key. Think of it as watering a plant, nurturing it to grow strong and upright.
5. Stretching: Your Back’s Best Mate
Ever watched a cat stretch after a nap? It’s instinctual. Stretching keeps our muscles flexible and agile. For the lower back, gentle twists or knee-to-chest stretches can be golden.
And the best time? A little stretch in the morning and post-physical activity can keep that back pain at bay.
After a long walk, applying a heat pack to your lower back can soothe muscle tension and improve blood circulation, aiding in faster recovery.
For acute back pain flare-ups, especially after a strenuous activity, applying an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing immediate relief.
Alternating between hot and cold treatments can be beneficial. While heat relaxes tight muscles, cold can reduce inflammation. Remember to always use a cloth barrier to protect your skin.
6. Shed Pounds, Shed Pain
Shedding those extra pounds isn’t just about looking good. It’s about feeling good, too. One effective way to alleviate the strain on your back is to lose weight.
Shedding those extra pounds can significantly reduce the pressure on your spine, especially during activities like walking.
Excessive weight, especially around the midriff, can be a backbreaker. But the silver lining?
A balanced diet and regular exercise can make a world of difference. Consider incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, such as turmeric and ginger. These can naturally reduce inflammation in the body easing back pain.
And remember, it’s not about being skinny; it’s about being healthy.
7. Alternative Routes to Relief
Sometimes, the usual pain relievers don’t cut it. That’s where alternative treatments come in:
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists, or physiotherapists, are like back whisperers. They understand its language and can guide it to recovery.
- Chiropractic Care: A little adjustment here and there can realign the spine, offering relief.
- Massage Therapy: It’s not just a spa treat. It’s a therapy, easing muscle tension and promoting relaxation.
Eating Right, Living Bright
Did you know certain foods can cause inflammation? Cutting down on those and focusing on bone and muscle-friendly nutrients can be a game-changer. And don’t forget to hydrate. Water’s like oil to a machine, making sure everything runs smoothly.
Your office chair, the height of your desk, even the way you hold your phone can impact your back. Investing in ergonomic tools and being mindful of posture during everyday activities can be a lifesaver.
Diversify to Thrive
Ever tried swimming or cycling? Diversifying exercises can prevent overuse injuries. It’s like rotating crops in a field, making sure the soil stays fertile. A balanced fitness routine keeps the body guessing and the back happy.
While short-term remedies can provide instant relief, it’s essential to consider long-term solutions and lifestyle changes to prevent recurrent back pain episodes.
Finding Your Stride Again
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? That moment when you’re out and about enjoying the park’s fresh air, and then – ouch! – that familiar twinge in your back strikes again. You might think, “Why can’t I just enjoy a simple walk like everyone else?” It’s frustrating, right? But, you’re not alone in this. And it’s perfectly okay to feel a bit miffed about it.
But here’s the thing: every cloud has a silver lining. You’ve just armed yourself with a treasure trove of knowledge. From understanding the root causes to strengthening your core and even making those tiny lifestyle tweaks, you’re now ready to tackle this head-on.
Remember, it’s not just about walking without pain; it’s about reclaiming your freedom, your joy, and those little moments that make life worth living.
So, chin up! With every step you take, you’re not just moving forward on the pavement, but also on your journey to a pain-free life.
You’ve got the tools, the tips, and the tenacity.
Now, all you need is to believe in yourself. Because you are unstoppable.
Go on, show the world – and your back – who’s boss! And book a session with one of our team to help you with your back!
FAQs on Back Pain When Walking
Should I keep walking if my back hurts?
It depends on the nature and intensity of the pain. Mild discomfort might improve with continued gentle walking, as it can promote blood flow and healing.
However, if the pain is sharp, severe, or increases with walking, it’s best to stop and rest. Always listen to your body, and if in doubt, consult a healthcare professional.
What are the red flags for back pain?
Red flags for back pain are warning signs that the pain might be due to a more serious underlying condition. They include:
- Pain that doesn’t improve with rest.
- Night pain or pain that wakes you up.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Fever or chills.
- History of cancer, osteoporosis, or steroid use.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Numbness or weakness in the legs.
- Pain following a traumatic event, like a fall or accident.
- If you experience any of these red flags, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly.
How do I know if my back pain is serious?
Back pain is considered serious if it comes with the red flags mentioned above. If the pain continues for over six weeks, is really intense, or has other signs such as chest discomfort or difficulty breathing, it’s essential to seek medical advice.
How do you tell if lower back pain is muscle or disc?
Muscle pain often presents as a dull ache, is tender to the touch, and might come with muscle spasms. It usually improves with rest, heat, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Disc pain, on the other hand, might be sharp or electric-like, especially if it’s pressing on a nerve. This pain can radiate down the leg (sciatica) and might come with numbness or tingling.
Movements like bending or twisting might exacerbate disc pain. You may need an MRI or CT scan to confirm a disc-related issue.
What does a slipped disc feel like in the lower back?
A slipped disc, also known as a herniated or prolapsed disc, in the lower back can cause localised sharp or burning pain. If the disc compresses a nerve, the pain can radiate down the leg, causing sciatica.
This radiating pain is often sharp and might come with numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected leg. Movements like bending, lifting, or sitting might intensify the pain.