Home Blog The Effect of Back Pain on Walking

The Effect of Back Pain on Walking

May 24, 2021 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

For the patient with low back pain, guidelines recommend seeking treatment in the acute stage of the condition instead of waiting for it to become chronic. While it’s generally easier and faster to achieve a satisfactory outcome in the earliest stages of a back pain condition, there’s another reason: to reduce the risk for additional injury. To see how this is the case, let’s look at the effect low back pain has on walking.

In a February 2020 study, researchers examined the lower limb kinematics (function) in 40 subjects, half of whom had chronic back pain, using a special seven-camera system that tracked the movements of the pelvis, hip, knees, and ankle joints during walking. The data show that individuals with chronic low back pain had significantly altered movement in all three joints of the lower extremities.

Another recent study used a marker-based motion capture system to examine the spinal kinematics of 22 adults (half with chronic low back pain) while walking by breaking down the spine into four sections: upper and lower lumbar (UL and LL) and thoracic (UT and LT). This experiment also revealed significant movement differences between the two groups.

Using a sophisticated assessment method called statistical parametric mapping (SPM) to capture a 3D analysis of subjects (20 with vs. 20 without low back pain), yet another study identified altered movement patterns among those with low back pain. 

These studies demonstrate that individuals with back pain exhibit altered walking kinematics, which may be a response by the body to avoid pain. But doing so may place added stress on other parts of the body, like the hips, knees, and ankles, which could lead to secondary conditions. On the other hand, there’s the possibility that pre-existing dysfunction in the lower extremities resulted in abnormal motion which led to a lower back condition.

Either way, these findings underscore the importance of examining the whole patient to identify any and all issues that may contribute to their low back pain, something which doctors of chiropractic are trained to do in order to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient.


Most Recent Posts

A Fort Myers Resident Asks, "What Do Chiropractors Do for Shoulder Pain"?

A Villas Resident has a good question really. When people think of…

A Patient at Coast Chiropractic Centers asks Dr. Harcourt, " Can Curcumin Keep the Mind Sharp"?

According to researchers, Dr. Timothy Harcourt mentions that,…

What Does the Research say is the Best Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain; A Review by Dr. Timothy Harcourt ?

When it comes to treating patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP),…

Can Chiropractic Help GERD at Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Tim Harcourt?

There is a plethora of research supporting the benefits of…

Here's A Review of Deep, Slow Breathing for Pain Management According to Dr. Timothy Harcourt

Coast Chiropractic Center doctor rveals that deep slow breathing (DSB)…