This back is made for walking. Scientists have concluded through the study of the spine that it is made for walking, which may come as a surprise as we humans do very little walking these days. Over thousands and millions of years, we have gone from days filled with walking and scavanging for food, to one that is largely sedentary. Inactivity has become a major problem to our spinal healthy as many of us spend the majority of our day working at a desk. Studies have shown prolonged sitting leads to decreased strength of the spinal and leg muscles and increases the pressures in the disk.
Some of us engage in heavy and repetitive lifting tasks during our daily activity. The heavier the loads we lift, the greater is the risk for spinal degeneration. Whether it is heavy lifting or sedentary life, the effects are the same: low back pain. Low back pain has now become an epidemic in society. Studies have shown up to 90% of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives.
We tend to think our children are immune to back troubles, but statistics show otherwise. A study of adolescents in Norway showed about 57% had back pain in the past year. Back pain seems to start in adolescence, and follows us into adult life.
When low back pain was compared to activity levels, an inverse relationship was shown. Results showed the less time children spent at the computer or watching television, the less likely they were to report back pain. Walking decreased the occurrence of back pain.
Significant differences were noted between people who engaged in regular, low to moderate activity (ie. walking) and those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. The group of patients who exercised, had improved mood, reduced need for physical therapy, and used less pain medication. They also tended to have less work disability.
The positive effects of walking continue into old age. Those who walk regularly show less lower body disability.
There was a time when medical doctors thought bed rest for two weeks was a good treatment for patients with low back pain. However, over the past two decades, multiple research studies have shown this prescription will actually increase your low back pain.
Whether you have back trouble or not, it is important to stay active and walking is one of the best ways to keep you pain free. You don't need a gym membership to do it-just some comfortable shoes. It lowers your risk for back trouble, and is also the best activity to engage in during rehabilitation following an injury.