Walking and low back pain

When walking can cause low back pain

Piriformis muscles

Your piriformis muscles should turn on and off as you walk. If they don’t you can have chronic pain and tightness.

Here is something that most doctors don’t know from a Washington, DC chiropractor. While walking, the muscles that support your spine need to turn on and off. Some very important ones are your Piriformis muscles. If they are not turning on and off properly problems can occur form just walking and low back pain can be a result.

These muscles stabilize your sacrum and sacroiliac joint and keep you hips in proper position. If they become too tight it may lead to spasms or trigger points, low back pain, sciatica, and hip tightness. If you walk long distances or run this can also cause early fatigue because your body is expending more energy to do these basic movements. 

Here is how a professional applied kinesiology doctor will assess the piriformis muscles to see if they are working properly when you are walking.

As a chiropractor who uses applied kinesiology, I have seen people try to stretch, have myo-fascial work or trigger point therapy done to tight piriformis muscles. But if it is not turning off properly that will only last as long as the person doesn’t walk. The holistic thing to do is find out why the muscles are not turning on and off as they should be. It can be because areas of the spine are out of place, because there are internal organ imbalances, acupuncture meridian deficiencies, and even emotional stress.

If you want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Ciprian for applied kinesiology treatment click here.

Have you ever been assessed for this? Let us know…

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26 Responses to Walking and low back pain

  1. Windy says:

    I think walking is one of the best exercises you can do to help to relieve back pain.

    • drciprian says:

      I do agree! Walking is one of the most natural exercises.

      I actually try to persuade my patients to walk on a treadmill or outside rather that using an elliptical machine at the gym.

      The elliptical machine robs our gait of critical movements that benefit our body.

      • Sharon says:

        Walking does not help muscles if the problem is that they need stretching. I walked constantly and can no longer walk because I am in excruciating pain afterwards. I can’t sit, stand or lie on my back. The only relief is sleeping on my side. I have had steroid injections, an epidural, Radio Frequency and now Botox in the trigger points to relax the muscles and i go to physical therapy which is more painful and a waste. Nothing has helped and I’m at the end of my rope. There isn’t anything that seems to help the hard excruciating painful muscles I’m my lower back and buttox. It is quite demoralizing to be told different things will help and I’m still in pain.

        • drciprian says:

          If you muscles are tight, there are usually antagonistic muscles that are weak. That is how the shortened muscle comes to be many times. In some of my videos I demonstrate this phenomenon of the weak muscles causing tight ones elsewhere in the body.

        • Abbass says:

          U can try wet cupping

  2. Billy Garrett says:

    My lower back becomes very stiff and painful within 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes to the point to where I HAVE to sit down. Bending over while seating and grabbing my shoes seems to help temporarily, but only until I stand up and/or walk again. I’m a 5’6″, 140 pound, 50 year old male. What could it be?

    • drciprian says:

      Hello Billy. This can be many different things. You wouldn’t be able to know for sure without a consult from a professional.

    • Marz says:

      Whatever that is I have exactly that same thing. I’m 46, 5’5, quite a bit overweight. I need to be walking more, but after about 20 minutes it really hurts in the middle of my lower back right at the belt line. If I sit even for a few minutes, or squat, it helps. I’ve mentioned it to my doc but she just wants to give me pills..I want to know WHY it’s doing it and how to fix it or stretch it so this stops happening. I don’t know what other kind of doc to see..whether I need a chrio, PT, massage therapy or what.

  3. Linda Dickson says:

    Long story..short version. 56yoF in good health. 5’6″ 126lbs.Work out minimum 5 times a week. Weight lifting for years and usually threadmill (incline) for cardio. No problems with workouts.Never get the spasms on threadmill. I go outside and walk and boom, hips feel very sore and get stabbing spasms mid R back.It is happening almost every time I walk for any length of time outside. PT was thinking it was hip flexor problem. Over the years I have seen so many specialists….regular MDs, Ortho guy, Chriopractors, Osteopathic docs, pain specialist. Nobody can figure out why walking aggravates the back then causes the back spasms.Makes no sense that I can do an hour on the threadmill daily without issues. Walk outside for an hour and the spasms are severe. Any ideas?

    • drciprian says:

      The tread mill and walking outside are very different things. Walking outside causes you to use your feet more while the tread mill babies your feet. This is the first impression that I get when I hear your story.

      Proper foot function is important to turn your pelvic and hip muscles off as your are walking.

  4. Linda Dickson says:

    Not sure what you mean by “proper foot function”

    • drciprian says:

      The bones of the foot have to be in good alignment and the sensory nerves of the foot need to be stimulated properly to have the right muscles in your body turn on and off as you walk. It the foot in not aligned properly as you walk, the sensory nerves will not tell your nervous system to turn the walking muscles to turn on and off like they are supposed to. This can result in muscles tightening as you walk.

      I hope this answers your question.

  5. Hi,
    Am karim meghani 28 yrs . Past 3 months i am suffering from lower back pain. It triggers when i do walking more than 30 mins. I have consulted ortho nd he told me am suffering from piriforms syndrome . Pls suggest the solution as i cant live without walking. I already had put on some 5 kg in 3 months because of passive life. I am doing some piriforms stretches regularly.

  6. Mary Alice says:

    Hi-I have done it all steroid, chiro, pt, and last oct had surgery, went to acupuncturist and that helped a little–but if I walk on the treadmill, I wind up not being able to get out of bed. It’s very depressing and I feel like the doctors think I’m just a chronic complainer–please help!!! I’m in Hudson Valley NY–any suggestions of Doctors?? I’m desperate!

  7. Lacey says:

    Would thispirioformis muscle cause instability, and inability to walk and step up stairs?

    • drciprian says:

      Yes Lacey. The Piriformis is a large muscle and if it weren’t performing properly there could be many issues.

  8. Alice says:

    mild lower back pain. unable to walk. feel like I will fall. balance is bad!! legs ache. extremely nervous. The longer I am on my feet, the worse it is. HELP!! Doctors say there is NOTHING wrong.

  9. Eileen says:

    This is very helpful and answers my question as to why my back seizes up after walking even just a short distance. It actually feels as though the area round my waist is being crushed.

  10. rebecca says:

    hello am 22 year old woman, about a week now i been getting low right side back pain, only when i walk… any help would be great…

  11. Jessica Wexler says:

    I was told at one point that my constant exercising (hiking and trail running) caused a muscle, maybe the same one to grow larger and that was causing the pain. I try back and core strength training but that has not helped. I will try the test and see what happens.

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