Walking for Pain Relief
Most people do not connect walking with lower back pain, or understand that the way they walk might cause their pain.
But when in pain — acute or chronic — every movement counts.
And we move a lot. Even the most sedentary person likely takes 2000 steps a day. If we executed those steps well, our healing would be a lot easier.
Getting out of pain requires 3 critical shifts:
Making simple changes to the way you walk and stand can have profound benefits. Move it or lose it is sound advice.
Walking, standing, breathing… these are all automatic behaviors that are changeable with a little effort and the right guidance.
99 out of 100 people lean backwards when they walk and stand but don’t think they do. Are you one of them?
Below are the most important articles I've published, to help you find the right solutions, develop optimal habits and get out of pain without Advil, cortisone, or surgery.
CoreWalking Program: Pain Relief One Simple Step at a Time
It isn't all that hard to make changes to the way you walk and experience less pain, greater mobility, and better energy.
Walking is the best way to bring permanent change to the body because we all do it, and we do it over and over again...
Why Walking Is The Answer For You
Back pain afflicts 31 million Americans at any given time (1) and 50% of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year (2). We spend $50 billion each year on lower back pain, and that only accounts for the more easily identifiable costs (3).
At a time when baby boomers are moving towards and past middle age we are seeing an aging population ill equipped for the rigors of getting old. People are both living longer and moving less— a genuine recipe for disaster in our modern world.
Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives (4 ), and amazingly lower back pain is the third most frequent reason for surgical procedure. (5,6)
There are many options for pain relief—surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic, exercise, diet and more. The question is how many of them are effective and for how long?
Most people are looking for an external fix and many are available. But most of these fixes don’t last because they are dealing with the obvious problem rather than the entire system.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THIS?
The answer is pretty simple …
Get to know yourself!
Our posture and the way we walk reflects so much of our journey through life– from imitating those who you bonded with as a child, to bearing the compensatory scars of accidents and injuries both large and small, and the primal, sometimes crippling effect that fear, our most primal emotion, has on our muscles and bones.
It is an exploration that is both physical and emotional as we confront the why of our movement pattern and physical traits. But there is danger on this path.
To quote the German writer Geothe “Know myself? If I knew myself I’d run and hide.”
The body is designed to work and walk in a specific pattern but it doesn’t take much for it to lose its way. Even in utero events are conspiring against us; positioning in the womb, birth trauma, and our first breaths can affect our movement and posture long before we have control of our own destiny.
Add to that the day-to-day reality of a life lived amongst others and machines, its aches pains and injuries all make finding ideal alignment difficult.
But getting to know yourself empowers you as a detective. Start to explore the way you walk and try to think about why things are moving the way they do. Does one arm seem to move more than the other while you are walking? In your best posture is one shoulder lower or higher than the other? Can you think of why this might be?
It is very easy to go through life accepting your posture as what it is. You can walk the way you walk and reach your dying day without much trouble. But you can also rebuild yourself in an image of your choice.It starts with simple awareness. Begin to watch those close to you. You are your parents and siblings. Take note of the similarities and differences. Begin to watch strangers as well. Try to see how they walk and try to develop a sense of what seems right and wrong. Get to know yourself and the deeper meanings of the body will be revealed.
1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
2. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.
3. Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville,
4. In Vallfors B, previously cited.
5. Anderssen GBJ. Frymoyer JW (ed.). The epidemiology of spinal disorders, in The Adult Spine: Principles and Practice. New York: Raven Press; 1997:93-141.
6. In National Center for Health Statistics (1982). Surgical operations in short stay hospitals by diagnosis, United States. 1978. Series 13, No.61.7. National Centers for Health Statistics, Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans 2006, Special Feature: Pain. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf.
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Changing lifelong habits isn’t easy but when it comes to pain management it is essential.
Change the way you see yourself and the way you move setting you on the path to healing all manner of aches, pains and injuries in a matter of weeks.