During the last year, since the pandemic began, I have treated many patients with back pain resulting from inactivity. In many cases back pain has resulted from long periods working at home, sitting in front of a computer, or hours watching Netflix to avoid boredom.
Back pain can be debilitating and excruciating. The symptoms can range from muscle aching to a shooting, burning, or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain can radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, or standing.
Although I treat many patients, I always encourage the prevention of pain in the first place. Walking can be one of the most effective ways of avoiding back pain. Regular walking for exercise has huge benefits for health and avoidance of back pain.
The benefits of walking to prevent back pain
- Walking nourishes the structures surrounding the spine. Walking encourages improved circulation, pumps nutrients into the muscles, and removes toxins.
- Walking reduces stress, it encourages the body to release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins in the brain. Stress often makes back pain worse, easing stress can be effective at reducing back pain and uplifting our mood.
- Sitting for prolonged periods encourages the hip flexors to become very tight. Walking improves flexibility, particularly stretching the hip flexors, and encourages an erect posture, counteracting the effects of sitting.
- Walking helps avoid osteoporosis. Back pain can develop from reduced bone density, weight-bearing exercises such as walking work directly on the bones of the legs, hips, and lower spine to slow mineral loss.
- Back pain commonly occurs with increased body weight. Walking helps maintain a healthy weight, especially as one grows older and metabolism slows down.
- Walking gets you outdoors in the fresh air which is fantastic for your mental health which is especially important during the pandemic.
The great thing about walking is that it is practical. You need to walk for regular activities such as visiting the supermarket. If you increase the number of daily activities you perform then there will be less effort needed to go for a walk in the great outdoors.
Walking can be a useful lower back pain treatment but with any activity, you must listen to your body. Paying attention to how you feel is critical to determine what is best to promote healing and using pain as a guide is very sensible.
Please get in touch, if would like help to improve your mobility, reduce your back pain and decrease stress levels.