Walking for Low Back Pain

I had an argument with my bike last night – I was trying to wrestle it out of the back of my car, and my lower back “tweaked”.  Within an hour I knew I wasn’t going to get a great night’s sleep.   Sure enough, turning over was pretty painful, and after half an hour or so, I would have to change position – even though that was more painful to do.

The pain is pretty central lower back and at rest I’d say it’s 3 out of 10 (on a painscale of 10 being the worst pain you can imagine), but the spasms – when they catch me – are about 6 out of 10;  so not the end of the world, but pretty uncomfortable.  So, this morning, rather than my usual more vigorous forms of exercise, I went for a walk.  I put my running shoes on because it’s important to have good supportive shoes.  It was dark when I went out – which may be a bad idea, as it did mean I caught the sole of my foot on the odd uneven surface – which gave me some sharp jabs of pain.

I was pretty stiff and a bit stooped when I started out, but I re-learned a few things aoubt how to relieve some of the pressure on my lower back.  People often struggle with walking when they’re getting jabs of pain, so this was a good opportunity for me to catalogue some useful advice.  This is what I found…

  • Watch your footing – uneven surfaces cause sharp jabs
  • Lift your lower ribs up
  • Start slowly and build
  • Shorten your stride initially
  • Relax your shoulders and low back
  • Lift your lower ribs up again
  • It may help to “draw up your pelvic floor”
  • Use the time to think
  • Use the time not to think, but to enjoy the sites around you
  • Appreciate your lower back and don’t think of it just as a pain
  • Gradually allow your stride to lengthen

Remember to apply the “use it or lose it, but don’t abuse it” rule.  If your back pain is worsening as you walk, it’s probably not a good idea to carry on!

There are so many proven benefits to walking (particularly compared with sitting around).   It’s also great for mobilising your lower back, so get out and do it regularly!  Happy walking!!  😉





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