Usually, the number one issue when someone has neck and back pain is walking. Let’s explore why that is. Here are the 5 most common reasons walking is so tight and painful when your back hurts.
Poor Hip Mobility
With every step, we take our hip and pelvis move in three levels of motion. If we have an absence of movement in our hip, it will trigger the spine to move more than it is used to move. Over time this increased motion can begin to produce swelling and compression of the nerves that exit the spinal column. This leads to sciatica and lower pain in the back.
Minimal Foot and Ankle Mobility
Whenever our foot hits the ground when we are walking, studies show that the body needs to absorb 2-3 times our body weight in push back. That push back ends up traveling up into the spine. If the foot is stiff and does not flatten when we stroll like it is created to do, it will cause an increase in forces transmitted into the spinal column. The increased forces cause increased compression and can irritate the joints and nerves in the spine.
Prolonged walking or standing can tire or strain the muscles in the lower back and legs, which can lead to aches and discomforts. This pain or pain typically gets better with sitting or lying down to rest the back.
People who are overweight might be more at risk for muscle fatigue that happens while standing or strolling.
An individual can treat muscle fatigue and decrease pain in the lower back with:
- hot or cold therapy
- over the counter (OTC) painkiller, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- gentle workouts to stretch and loosen up tight muscles
Preserving a healthy weight can also help reduce stress on the back and legs.
Decreased Hip Strength
It is typical to see people strolling with a slight lean to one side when the foot lands on the ground. This is an indication that the lateral part of the hip is weak (glute medius). When this occurs, the body compensates by leaning to that side. When the body leans to that side, it triggers compression of the nerves on the very same side of the spine.
Lumbar Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that can put additional pressure on the spine and nerves.
Spinal stenosis typically takes place in the lower part of the back, or back spine, where it can result in decrease neck and back pain when strolling or standing. Individuals frequently find that this pain improves with taking a seat or leaning forward.
Other symptoms of lumbar back stenosis can include:
- weakness in the legs
- numbness or tingling in the lower back, buttocks, or legs
- sciatica, or acute pain that radiates down the leg
Severe back stenosis might result in bowel and bladder issues and sexual dysfunction.
Spine stenosis typically happens as a result of aging and is most typical for people older than 50 years. However, some individuals are born with a narrow spine canal, and spinal stenosis can likewise develop following a back injury.
A physician might first suggest nonsurgical remedies for individuals with spinal stenosis. The alternatives may consist of:
- physical therapy
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- steroid injections
- alternative treatments, such as chiropractic treatment or acupuncture
If a person's discomfort aggravates or does not improve, a physician may suggest a surgical procedure to support the spinal column or ease pressure on the spinal nerves.
Stiff Upper Back
With every step we take, we likewise have an arm swing in the opposite direction. This arm swing causes our upper back to turn. If we have limited upper back rotation, it will cause increased rotation in the lower back. This increased rotation can cause increased compression and irritation to the joints and nerves in the spine.
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Degenerative disk disease
As a person ages, the protective disks that sit in between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column can slowly wear down and shrink. Degeneration of these disks can result in the bones in the spinal column rubbing versus one another, which might trigger back pain and tightness.
While signs of degenerative disk illness typically improve with walking, the pain may get worse when a person is standing or twisting, bending, or lifting.
Other signs of degenerative disk illness might include lower back pain that radiates to the buttocks and thighs:
- weakness in the legs or feet
- pain in the back that varies in severity and duration
Treatment alternatives for degenerative disk illness can consist of:
- NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- ice or heat packs
- physical therapy
- a back brace
If conservative treatments do improve an individual's symptoms, a medical professional may recommend artificial disc replacement or spinal fusion.
Stenosis or Arthritis in the Spine
Research shows if you are over 55 years, have pain in the lower back while strolling or standing, this pain disappears while sitting, there is a 97% chance you have arthritis. This arthritis predisposes you to have pain with walking in your spine. If you fix all of the important things we have mentioned previously, then you can walk without discomfort even when you have stenosis or arthritis in the spine.
Hyperlordosis is an extreme inward curvature of the lower spinal column that triggers the buttocks to become more prominent and the stomach to stand out.
While lying on their back, a person with hyperlordosis may have a noticeable c-shaped curve or large space in their lower back area. Individuals, in some cases, describe this exaggerated posture as "swayback.".
Hyperlordosis can, in some cases, also cause pain in the lower back, which might affect motion or get worse with prolonged standing. It also can arise from spinal injuries or conditions such as obesity, osteoporosis, spondylolisthesis, and rickets.
Treatment choices depend upon the individual's age and the seriousness of the curvature and symptoms.
A doctor might recommend that kids with hyperlordosis wear a back brace while they are still growing. For adults, a medical professional might recommend conservative treatments, such as OTC painkiller, physical therapy, and weight management.
In rare circumstances, a physician may suggest restorative surgical treatment.
When to see a doctor
Lower back pain, while standing or strolling, is not always a cause for issue. It might get better with home remedies, such as rest, OTC pain relievers, hot and cold therapy, and mild stretching.
An individual must see their physician if the discomfort is extreme, does not improve, or happens together with other worrying or debilitating signs.
People with lower back pain should look for instant medical attention if they experience loss of bowel or bladder control or leg movement becomes significantly affected.
Some ideas to help prevent lower neck and back pain consist of:
- Working out for a minimum of 30 minutes on many days of the week. Where possible, try doing a mixture of low- and high-intensity exercises, such as bike riding, walking, aerobics classes, swimming, or using an elliptical machine.
- Practicing great posture while strolling, such as by keeping the back straight and preventing leaning too far forward or slumping.
- Making proper adjustments to workstations to enhance ergonomics. Examples include positioning the computer screen at eye level and using a supportive and properly-adjusted chair.
- Using proper lifting strategies. Try holding things as close as possible to the body, keeping a wide stance, flexing from the legs and not the back. Prevent lifting objects that are too heavy.
- Consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, entire grains, and lean proteins.
Individuals who have particular questions or issues about keeping their back healthy and devoid of pain must talk with their medical professionals.