Walking and back health
Most people know that walking can be highly beneficial to your personal health. Walking is a great aerobic exercise that almost anyone can do; it requires very little in the way of special equipment or skills and can be performed for any duration of time desired. Aside from the general advantages that walking can bring to your personal health level, many people with back pain can gain some specific benefits from this activity.
When people have back pain caused by spine conditions such as bulging discs or bone spurs, they often cut down on physical activity. This is understandable, but inactivity can make the problem worse, possibly leading to further complications.
Because walking is a low-impact form of exercise that causes a low amount of stress to joints, people who have neck pain or back pain can often use walking to stay in shape while minimizing the impact on the spine.
Specific benefits of walking for back health
Apart from maintaining an active lifestyle, walking also provides benefits for people dealing with back pain. These include:
- Core strength. Walking requires balance, which in turn requires a strong core. A strong core is important for supporting your vertebrae, leading to better back health.
- Bone density. Walking for exercise promotes healthy bones and can help to reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis.
- Improved posture. One issue that absolutely contributes to back pain is poor posture. A regular walking program can improve posture, which can lead to reduced back pain.
- Increased circulation. The soft tissues in your spine require strong circulation to pump out toxins and get the nutrients they need. Walking increases your circulation, which helps support good spinal health.
Starting a walking program
As with any exercise routine, it’s best to start small and gradually build to a higher level of activity. Your doctor may recommend beginning with five minutes of walking a day and eventually working up to a regular routine of 30 minutes of walking three to four times per week.
It is important to make sure that the shoes you walk in are comfortable and provide enough support, particularly to the arches of the feet. The wrong shoes could potentially contribute to increased back pain. You may choose to have your gait analyzed at a store that specializes in therapeutic or athletic footwear to ensure the pair you select is right for you.
Good walking form can also help maximize the benefits of your walking program while minimizing the risk of injury. Be sure to keep your head up, your shoulders straight and relaxed and your abdominal muscles engaged for support.
As with any exercise routine, check with your physician before beginning, and keep him or her informed of your progress. Report any injuries immediately, and seek medical advice for proper rest and healing techniques.
Treatment for chronic back pain
Walking is terrific way to stay active and moving and can be an essential part of an effective treatment program for back pain. However, if conservative treatments like walking, medication or physical therapy have not improved your neck or back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that can help you find relief from back pain.
If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, a member of our dedicated team can help you get a free MRI review.*