How Walking Effects Spine Pain

Many people experience spinal pain and there are many known treatment options ranging from physical therapy to spine surgery. However, did you know that changing the way you walk can help reduce discomfort that is felt along the vertebrae? The following are a few simple guidelines about the best walking habits that may help you find a road to less pain.

Minimizing the Stride

When individuals take steps that are too long, stress is placed on the lumbar spine because the hips are twisted too much, and the knees are extended too far. People who are experiencing spinal pain should take notice of their normal stride length and correct it so that the heel is planted under the knee when walking rather than in front of the knee. Shorter strides offer better support of the body’s weight, and longer strides add stress to the lumbar spine and pelvis by burdening them with extra load.

Keeping the Shoulders Back

It has become a regular habit for most people to walk with their shoulders slumped forward. Being aware of rolling the shoulders back and keeping them straightened while walking can help relieve pressure on the spine, especially the vertebrae of the neck. Slouching forward not only puts strain on the thoracic spine, but it causes the weight of the head to rest out of line which adds strain to the cervical vertebrae.

Allowing the Pelvis to Tilt Back

Most people have been taught to stand up straight and tuck in their pelvises. In fact, the pelvis should be allowed to slightly sway back with the natural curve of the spine. Continually keeping the pelvis pulled in can shorten the sacroiliac joints. Overly tight sacroiliac joints force the spine out of its natural curve. The tightness also exacerbates sciatica in some people by causing a compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle in the buttocks.

While changing the way you walk is one way to help reduce mild back pain, it may not be enough to reverse the damage or pain that results from an advanced spinal condition. To find out more about spinal treatment options ranging from non-invasive methods to minimally invasive spine surgery, call 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with one of the experienced spine physicians at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We are here to help, and look forward to hearing from you.