Walking Away Back Pain



Doesn’t it seem like walking correctly should be something everybody does automatically? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Most people have something in their style of walking; i.e. an extreme foot turn-out, locked knees, a weak abdomen, that contributes to imbalance in their body. On the Mend On the Move physical therapists are trained to treat walking disorders and teach corrective walking techniques. By changing the way you walk, it is possible to eliminate and prevent structural pain, including back pain.

On a daily basis, you walk more than any other physical activity. How you walk defines most everything about you, including predisposition to pain, athletic ability, how people look at you and health with respect to aging. We can help you discover that something about the way you walk may be the reason why you have pain, and that you can change it.

Your walk involves several body parts, all interacting together to produce your style of head holding, shoulder girdle, arm swing, hip movement, knee action, and the way you plant your foot. It’s as natural as breathing, and if any of your six (two ankles, two knees, two hips) weight earing joints are just the tiniest bit askew, or crooked, you’re at risk for structural pain. One minor walking error repeated millions of times can do an incredible amount of damage to your back, muscles, nerves, and joints, eventually causing increased pain and arthritis.

Often, the cause of back pain is poor fitness — specifically, weak abdominal muscles. At the pelvis, the weight of the upper body is transferred to the lower limbs. The pelvis, or pelvic girdle, is balanced on the rounded heads of the highbones. It is held in place by numerous muscles, including the abdominals, the hamstrings, the gluteals, and the hip flexors. An imbalance or weakness in these muscles can lead to pelvic misalignment, which usually causes the pelvis to tilt forward or backward. If the abdominal muscles are weak, the top of the pelvis will drop and tilt forward. Forward tilt of the pelvis leads to lordosis, or sway back.


In addition to abdominal weakness, a lack of strength in the gluteals and hamstrings can lead to forward pelvic tilt. While the abdominals stabilize the pelvis by pulling upward on the front, the gluteals and hamstrings offer stability by pulling down on the rear of the pelvis. Exercises must be done to strengthen the abdominals and gluteals.


Usually, walking gives the gluteals a good workout. The abdominal muscles can be conditioned through physical therapy and easy weight training exercises. Studies of people with chronic low back pain show that they have walking abnormalities, that when corrected by physical therapy and sometimes shoe inserts (orthotics), reduce their pain significantly. Research has shown that chronic back pain responds very well to walking, exercise and physical therapy. For those seeking natural relief, nothing could be more natural or self-empowering as learning how to correct your walking and stride to relieve your back pain.