Walking Your Way to Relief: How Regular Walking Can Alleviate Chronic Lower Back Pain

Featured & Cover Walking Your Way to Relief How Regular Walking Can Alleviate Chronic Lower Back Pain

Sonia Mahurkar, a 30-year-old IT professional from Gurgaon, had been dealing with chronic lower back pain for an extended period. When she consulted her doctor last December, the spine specialist identified prolonged sitting at the computer as a major contributor to her discomfort. Instead of prescribing medication, the doctor recommended that she engage in regular walking for at least half an hour daily. After about a month, Sonia noticed a substantial reduction in her pain.

Sonia’s situation is not unique. A recent study published in The Lancet revealed that regular walking considerably lowers the risk of flare-ups in individuals with a history of lower back pain. The study emphasized that a daily minimum of 30 minutes of walking can alleviate lower back pain. This groundbreaking trial aimed to assess the effectiveness of walking, an inexpensive form of exercise.

Dr. S Vidyadhara, Chairman and Head of the Department of Spine Surgery and Consultant in Robotic Spine Surgery at Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road, shared his expertise on the matter.

How Does Walking Help Reduce Lower Back Pain?

According to Dr. Vidyadhara, walking is a low-impact exercise that exerts minimal pressure on the joints while strengthening the core and back muscles that support the spine. He explained that this leads to enhanced stability, improved posture, and reduced strain on the lower back. “Walking also promotes blood flow, bringing essential nutrients to spinal discs and promoting healing. In addition, the rhythmic movement may help release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, leading to pain relief and improved mood,” Dr. Vidyadhara elaborated.

Walking The Right Way: Things To Keep In Mind

While regular brisk walking, defined as walking at a speed of around 100 steps per minute, is highly beneficial for overall health, Dr. Vidyadhara offered several tips to maximize the benefits and minimize potential harm:

  1. Always Listen To Your Body

Begin slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks. Aim for brisk walking for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

  1. Maintain Good Posture

Keep an upright posture with your shoulders back and core muscles engaged. Avoid hunching or slouching while walking.

  1. Wear Proper Footwear

Use shoes that offer support and have adequate cushioning to absorb impact and protect your joints.

Dos And Don’ts For Walking And Back Pain

Dr. Vidyadhara emphasized that while walking is beneficial for health, certain dos and don’ts should be observed:


– Start your walk with gentle stretches to warm up and follow with a cool-down routine after your walk.

– Pay attention to your form by maintaining a steady pace and avoiding excessive bouncing.


– Avoid pushing yourself too hard, especially at the beginning. Take breaks as necessary.

– Steer clear of uneven surfaces that can cause instability and falls. Choose flat, well-maintained paths instead.

Precautions And When To Seek Help

While brisk walking is generally safe, Dr. Vidyadhara advised consulting a doctor before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions or severe back pain. He also noted that in some instances, walking alone might not suffice. Your doctor might suggest physiotherapy or other pain management techniques in conjunction with walking for the best results.

“Overall, walking is a readily available and low-risk exercise with significant benefits for those struggling with low back pain. This is the best way to walk your way to a healthier, pain-free back. So, lace up your shoes and step outside walking in your vicinity every day!” Dr. Vidyadhara recommended.

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