Lower back pain is a common condition that affects many people, and finding relief can be a challenge. While rest and pain medications can be helpful, many people find that physical activity, such as walking, can also be beneficial for managing lower back pain.
Walking is a low-impact form of physical activity that can help improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and increase flexibility in the lower back and surrounding muscles. Additionally, walking can help maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the stress on the lower back and reduce the risk of further back pain.
Here are some tips for making walking a part of your lower back pain management plan:
If you’re new to walking or have been inactive for a while, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your walks. Aim to walk for at least 10-15 minutes at a time, and gradually work up to 30 minutes or more.
Wear Comfortable Shoes.
Especially when walking on hard surfaces, such as the pavement, wear comfortable, supportive shoes. It is important to get shoes fitted for you and your feet, even when you find a shoe you like they can change the structure/ features of the shoe between models. This can help reduce the impact on your lower back and reduce the risk of further pain or injury.
Warm up before you start walking by gently stretching your lower back and surrounding muscles. This can help prepare your body for physical activity and reduce the risk of injury.
Great stretches and warm-ups for walking include:
- Hip hugs – Sitting, lying down or standing on one leg, bringing your knee up to your body. With both hands around the front of your knee, gently pull your knee towards you. Hold for 10-15 seconds, repeat with the other leg.
- Hamstrings – Bend one knee, extending the other leg so your heel is touching the ground. With the arm on the same side as your extended leg, gently reach forward towards your toes. Hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat with the other leg.
- Quads – Standing on one leg. Reach back and hold the ankle of your opposite leg. Gently pull your heel towards the buttock on that side. Hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat with the other leg.
- Claves – Facing a wall, place the ball of your toes of one foot against the wall. Keeping your leg straight, gently move your body towards the wall. Hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat with the other leg.
- Marching on the spot – Bring up your heart rate and warm up your muscles by marching for 20-30 seconds.
Walk on a Flat Surface (when getting started)
If you are adding walking to your exercise, initially try to walk on a flat, level surface, such as a treadmill or a paved trail. Once you are comfortable walking for 20 minutes, add a gentle gradient (up and down) to your route.
Incorporate intervals of moderate-intensity walking into your routine, such as brisk walking or jogging. This can help improve cardiovascular fitness and increase strength in the lower back and surrounding muscles. You can use trees or sign posts as markers, alternatively set a timer and increase your pace for 2 minutes before a period of lower intensity.
Walking can be a great form of exercise for people with lower back pain. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor or osteopath before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a chronic or serious condition. With the right approach, walking can be a safe and effective way to manage lower back pain and improve overall health.
If you are experiencing low-back pain the team at Bodywell Healthcare are ready to help. Why not make an appointment to see how osteopathy and walking can be the first step in reducing low-back pain?
To book an appointment, call 9717 1200 or alternatively book online at https://www.bodywellhealthcare.com.au/book-online/