The back is a vital part of the body. It houses or protects some of the most important organs of the body with emphasis on the spine. What makes up the back are the spine, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and joints among many others. Whatever we do and even when we just sit or lay down the bed, our back is always at work. Hence, any discomfort or ache that arises on any part of the back should be enough to catch you attention.
Back pain is a normal occurrence with at least 80 percent of the population experiencing such pain at some point in their lives. While a back pain can be a simple muscle pain, back pain may also lead to complications such as the trouble or inability to walk. The causes of back pain ranges from just a tired muscle to a spinal problem. This is the reason why there should be ample knowledge about back health. In this article, we answer some of the common questions that concern back pain and the difficulty of walking that comes along with it. If you are experiencing back pain and cannot walk at the same time, then this article is of big help.
Why can’t I walk when I have back pain?
The trouble or inability to walk is an indication that your back pain is just an underlying condition of the primary or more serious ailment. Generally, one’s difficulty or inability to walk is closely associated with a problem in the lower back. When you suffer from back pain and cannot walk, it could be by reason of any of the following:
If you experience back pain and difficulty in walking, it may be a sciatic nerve pain that is bothering you. Sciatica is the name given to the condition where a pain is caused by irritation and compression of the sciatic nerve. The pain is not exclusive since the sciatic nerve runs down from the spine to the feet, thus the pain radiates to the back of thighs and legs. One symptom of sciatica is the numb sensation on the legs. Both the pain and numbness, as when they radiate down to the legs, make walking difficult or even impossible.
Considering the number of activities we normally do that makes use of the back, especially the lower back, it does not come as a surprise to experience an injury on the lower back in the form of a sprain or strain. There is strain when the muscle or tendon is injured, while sprain occurs when there is tear or overstretching of ligaments. Pain arising from back strain or sprain gets worse with movement. It will also make it difficult for a person to walk since there is reduced range of motion of the joints.
Degenerative disc disease
Another cause for back pain that comes with inability to walk is the degenerative disc disease. The vertebrae along the spine are linked by the discs, the primary purpose of which is to promote mobility of the spine and to act as shock absorber. Generally, degenerative disc disease is associated with aging. As we age, the discs lose their content and height bringing the vertebrae closer to each other. Because of this, the disc’s ability to absorb shock is affected, hence the pain. It leads to the tingling and painful sensation to the legs. The result is that apart from the back pain, you are unable to walk by reason of the debilitating pain. It must be noted, however, that poor posture and incorrect body movements may cause degenerative disc disease. This only means that even younger people may experience such condition.
If you are over 60 years of age and suffering from back pain coupled with difficulty or inability to walk, the problem could be a spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis could either be the narrowing of the central spinal canal, where the spinal cord and nerve roots run, or the neural foramen, or that space where spinal nerves exit the canal. Moreover, as between an acquired spinal stenosis and the congenital or developmental, it is the acquired one that is more condition.
Another source of pain that could be hampering your walk is the facet joint arthritis or osteoarthritis. The facet joints are responsible for linking each vertebra found in the spinal column. The joint is well covered by articular cartilage that allows the bone ends to move against each other smoothly. It wears off once there is pressure on the area where the joints meet. This could be a result of the thinning out of the disc and the shrinking of the space between the vertebrae. It comes as an intermittent pain, but may eventually lead to a steadier pain. Apart from back pain, it also includes leg pain that develops as you stand upright or walk.
How do I address incapacity to walk during back pain?
Unlike other types of back pain, back pain that comes with the trouble or complete inability to walk would necessarily have to be checked by the doctor. However, there are self-help or alternative methods you can apply to relieve the pain and the discomfort.
- The very first thing you can actually do is to give your body a rest. Inflamed tissues or nerves that cause back pain and makes walking an almost impossible task need some days off to heal. This will help relieve the pain. However, going for more rest than needed, will weaken the muscles and delay the recovery.
- There are also over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications you can take to ease the pain and the inflammation that caused it.
- The heat and ice packs are also great in easing the pain. Some people works with heat, while some prefer cold application. Others, however, use both alternately.
- Familiar and practice yourself with proper posture especially when you bend, push, or lift.
Is there anything I can do to prevent this condition?
The first measure to prevent the happening of back pain coupled with trouble in walking is to listen to your body. When you feel a pain in the back, especially in the lower back, address the same as soon as possible. Another thing you can do is to improve posture and educate yourself on the proper body position or movement when sitting, standing upright, lifting, bending, walking, and running. Lastly, engage in exercises that strengthen the muscles.
Most of our daily activities like walking, lifting, and running would necessarily involve our lower back or the lumbar region. As you may have observed back pain that troubles your walking primarily is a pain on the lower back. But regardless of which part of the back is affected, cardinal is the rule that proper treatment of such pain will have to do with proper determination of what causes the same. This is to prevent the pain from coming back and to make sure that the condition does not get any worse.
Another solution that can relieve back pain