There’s a reason why lower back pain is a common disability worldwide. For every step you take, your lower back muscles are hard at work. These muscles are in constant motion, and with one wrong step, you can twist improperly and strain them.
Walking is a simple — often overlooked — exercise that is beneficial to the health of your back. Your doctor at Southeastern Spine Institute will encourage you to walk to relieve back pain. Walking has several benefits, such as improving flexibility and strengthening muscles. It’s also proven that walking reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.
How One Wrong Step Could Lead to Back Pain
Your lower back goes through a wide range of motions as you walk. When it’s unable to support your weight properly, your joints and muscles have to work harder to compensate. Overworking your muscles adds stress to your joints and can lead to severe back-related complications that could include:
- Pulled disc
- Muscle strain
- Bulging disc
- Pinched nerve
- Joint damage
- Cracked vertebrae
It’s easier than you think to make the wrong step that’ll injure your back. There are many hazards that you come across daily that put your back at risk. Being conscious of how and where you walk decreases these risks significantly. A few examples of hazards that can lead to back pain include:
- Holes in the ground
- Slick weather conditions
- Uneven ground
- Walking while rushed or distracted
Leaning and slouching add stress on your muscles and spine, making you more susceptible to back pain. Understanding how to sit and lift can help you avoid back pain. Walking, sitting and lifting properly can help keep your back healthy. Practicing safe habits over time strengthens your back. Safe techniques to consider include:
- Practice proper posture. Poor posture puts more stress on your spine.
- Sit with your back straight. Keep your shoulders back and feet flat on the ground when sitting.
- Don’t be a slouch. Keep your back straight even when standing.
- Lift with your legs instead of your back. Too much weight can twist your back out of place.
- Be aware of your habits. Being conscious of your back’s position goes a long way in preventing injury.
Stretching and Exercise
Back pain makes stretching and exercising difficult. Seek your doctor’s approval prior to beginning any type of stretching or exercise program to avoid serious injury. But stretching can increase mobility and reduce the chances of back-related pain. Your back muscles are meant to move. When they’re underworked, they become tight.
Exercise strengthens your back muscles. The stronger and more flexible these muscles become, the less likely you’ll experience pain. You also reduce your chances of turning wrong or twisting your back. But not all exercises help relieve back pain. Exercises to avoid include:
- High-impact aerobics
- Toe touches
Let Your Footwear Work for You
Shoes are like the tires on your vehicle: when your tires lose tread, it’s time to change them. Treat your shoes the same way. If your shoes don’t provide the proper support for your feet, then you’re at a higher risk of accidental injury and subsequent back pain.
Wear comfortable shoes that allow your toes to point straight rather than inside or outside. The more support your shoes provide, the less stress on your back. Consider these tips:
- Avoid flip-flops and high heels.
- Consider custom-made orthotics.
- Wear the correct size shoes.
- Replace your shoes regularly.
Wearing the proper footwear and exercising reduce your chances of taking the wrong step. Each step you make is crucial to your back’s health. Take your time while walking. It’s possible to beat back pain one safe step at a time.