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Try Walking to Relieve Low Back Pain
Try Walking to Relieve Low Back Pain

Low back pain can affect people of all ages.  The pain may be the result of a strain or sprain to the muscles of the low back due to bending, improper lifting, or a sports related injury.  The pain may be severe or even temporarily disabling, but these injuries are generally easier to treat and do not require spinal surgery.  Conservative treatments will help the patient heal over time.

Conditions causing low back pain

Some of the more serious conditions that can cause low back pain include lumbar degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, lumbar stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.  These conditions become more common as people age.  Discs gradually dry out and lose their ability to act as shock absorbers for the spine.  Normal wear and tear over the years can result in stenosis, or narrowing, of the spinal canal.  Nerves can become compressed, causing pain.  Other degenerative changes in the vertebral structures may cause the joints between the vertebrae to slip forward.  Some of the symptoms that result from these conditions include muscle spasms, sharp pain in the back or buttocks, and burning, tingling, numbness, or weakness of the leg or foot.  In severe cases, there may be bladder or bowel incontinence.

Lifestyle choices impact spinal health.

Being overweight, not eating a balanced diet, and lack of regular exercise contribute to poor disc health.  Poor posture and improper lifting techniques place added stress on the low back.  Physical therapy is often recommended to help patients improve their functional abilities.  Exercises can build strength, flexibility, and endurance as they provide stability for the spine.

Can walking reduce low back pain?

Walking promotes movement, increases blood flow to the muscles, and promotes a feeling of well-being.  Research has shown that being physically inactive can actually delay recovery.  According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain. 

If you are not used to walking, start slowly to get your body used to the movement.  Maintain good walking posture by keeping the spine in a neutral position, leaning neither forward nor backward.  Keep the abdominal muscles engaged to protect the low back.  As you gain strength and endurance, add time and intensity to your walking routine.

Advantages of walking

Walking is a low-risk activity that can be done almost anywhere.  No special equipment is necessary, and there’s no need to join a gym.  Make walking a social activity as well as exercise by recruiting a friend or family member to walk with you.  There are additional health benefits from walking.  It can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help with weight loss.

Next steps

If you are suffering from low back pain, the physicians at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care are ready to help you find relief.  Our expertise is the diagnosis and treatment of spinal injuries and disorders.  We see patients at seven convenient metro Atlanta locations.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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