Over 60 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Lower back pain after walking is a common complaint that can impact daily life and hinder one’s ability to fully enjoy physical activities. Whether it’s a brief stroll or a more extended walk, experiencing discomfort in the lower back can be frustrating and worrying.
Understanding the potential causes of back pain and how to manage it effectively is essential. In this article, we look at various reasons individuals may suffer from back pain after walking and explore practical strategies for relief.
Common Causes of Lower Back Pain After Walking
One of the most common causes is muscle strain. Walking for long periods or overexerting yourself without proper conditioning can lead to overworked muscles. The lower back muscles can become tired and strained, resulting in discomfort.
Maintaining proper posture while walking is crucial for spinal alignment. Poor posture, such as slouching or forward-leaning, can place unneeded stress on the lower back. Over time, this can add to pain and discomfort, especially during or after walking.
Degenerative disc disease occurs with age, causing the discs between the vertebrae to break down. This medical condition leads to lower back pain, especially during weight-bearing activities like walking.
A herniated disc transpires when the soft inner core of a spinal disc extends through the more rigid outer layer. This can irritate nearby nerves, causing pain that may intensify during activities like walking. The pressure on the nerves in the lower back can lead to persistent discomfort.
Spinal stenosis is a condition distinguished by the narrowing of the spinal canal. This constriction can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to lower back pain after walking. The pain may be relieved by rest but can return with activity.
Problems with the joints in the lower back, such as arthritis, can contribute to pain after walking. Inflammatory conditions affecting the joints may result in stiffness and discomfort, particularly during weight-bearing activities.
Addressing Lower Back Pain After Walking
Identifying lower back pain after walking involves paying attention to the nature, location, and duration of the discomfort.
If you experience aching, stiffness, or sharp pain in the lower back during or after walking, and these sensations persist over time, it may indicate a health issue.
Consider the following:
Proper Warm-Up and Stretching
To prevent muscle strain, it’s essential to warm up before walking. Gentle stretches and movements can prepare your muscles for activity and reduce the risk of strain.
Focus on the muscles of the:
- Lower back
This will help to improve your flexibility and reduce the risk of strain. Include post-walk stretches to improve flexibility and relieve muscle tension.
Maintaining Good Posture
Pay attention to your posture while walking. Stand tall with your shoulders back and head held high. This will help to maintain a natural curve in your lower back. Avoid slouching or leaning forward excessively.
Allow your arms to swing naturally at your sides. Keep your elbows close to your body, and let your arms move in coordination with your strides. Keep your hips level and avoid excessive tilting. This helps maintain a balanced and neutral posture. Imagine your hips as a bowl of water.
Bend your knees slightly with each step, and land on your heel before rolling through the ball of your foot. Ensure that your feet point straight ahead.
Take natural and comfortable steps. Avoid overstriding, as this can lead to an uneven gait and increased stress on your spine.
Look forward, not down, to maintain a neutral spine position. This helps prevent strain on your neck and upper back. Walk at a pace that is comfortable for you. Rushing may lead to poor posture, so find a speed that allows you to maintain good form.
Periodically check your posture during your walk. If you notice any slouching or discomfort, make adjustments to realign your body.
Developing good posture takes practice, and it may feel unnatural at first. Focus on one aspect at a time, gradually incorporating these tips into your walking routine.
Over time, proper posture will become more natural, reducing the risk of strain on your spine and enhancing the benefits of your walks.
Choose shoes that feel comfortable from the moment you put them on. Wear shoes with adequate arch support to maintain proper alignment. Opt for shoes with sufficient cushioning to absorb impact while walking.
Your shoes must fit properly. There should be enough room for your toes to move comfortably. Choose shoes that are breathable and flexible. Do not forget about the soles; you need stability and good traction to walk on different surfaces.
Incorporate Core Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening the core muscles can provide better support for the spine and reduce the risk of lower back pain. Incorporate exercises such as:
- Abdominal crunches into your routine
You can also consider adding therapeutic exercises to your routine. Consult with a healthcare provider or a fitness instructor before starting a new exercise program.
Seek Professional Help
If your lower back pain persists, consider seeking professional help. Chiropractic services can be beneficial for addressing spinal misalignments, while physical therapy can provide targeted exercises for back pain relief and improved mobility.
Working with professionals experienced in back pain relief ensures a comprehensive approach to your discomfort and pain. Remember, early intervention and personalized care contribute significantly to healing and restoring mobility.
If the pain is acute or persistent, consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough examination. They can recommend imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to identify underlying issues like herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
Alleviating Lower Back Pain After Walking
Lower back pain after walking can stem from various factors, ranging from muscle strain to more serious spinal conditions. Understanding the root cause is essential for implementing effective solutions.
New York City Wellness provides specialized care and treatment for anyone suffering from back pain. Contact us to schedule an appointment. We have specialists on our team who use advanced treatment methods to address different medical issues like chronic back pain or other back injuries.