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Does a Walking Stick Help with Back Pain?

Walking stick can help with back pain. Don’t expect miracles, at the same time it can be extremely beneficial for your back. It also improves posture and helps with balance. There are plenty of benefits to using a trekking stick. Also, find how to use this mobility aid properly.

A walking stick is probably the simplest and most likely the first medical appliance ever invented. If you hike a lot it can help to reduce back pain take the weight off the knees. But, what does a walking stick actually do and how is it best used?

Many people think that it’s most common use is to help people walk. But, they’d most likely be wrong, a walking cane is far better for that. The most common use is to help with balance and improve posture.

Will a Walking Stick help with Lower Back pain?

Yes. A stick is probably the best assistive aid for someone with back pain. Many people don’t realize that the lower back muscles spend a lot of their time keeping us balanced while walking. If you have pain in this region, you probably lean to one side to try to lessen the pain.

This throws you off balance and causes extra stress in that region as the muscles try harder to compensate, which causes even more pain. Using a stick breaks this vicious cycle as it assists the muscles allowing them to heal quicker than usual.

How to Use a trekking Stick Properly?

Before using a walking stick, we have to know how to use it properly. First, the handle must be the correct distance from the ground. That distance depends on the design of the stick, how it’s going to be used and where it’s to be held. So, we can’t give any hard and fast rules.

As a general rule, however, the top of the walking stick should come up to the hip bone and the elbow shouldn’t bend more than 20 degrees when holding the handle. If you aren’t sure, your doctor or physiotherapist will know the correct length for your height.

If you have a weak side, then hold the stick on the stronger or uninjured side. But, if you’re using it purely for help with balance and support, hold it in whichever hand is most comfortable.

A walking stick goes by other names you may have heard: walking cane or trekking sticks. However, they are not the same. Walking ( or trekking ) sticks are a temporary device mostly used while nordic walking or hiking on rough terrains. On the other hand, walking canes are walking aids designed to reduce the pressure on the joint on a long-term basis.

What Else does a Walking stick Help With?

A walking stick isn’t only for assisting your lower back muscles.

Balance

Previously, we touched on how a walking stick helped lower back muscles maintain balance. Let’s talk about this aspect a bit more, shall we?

Walking outdoors can be a dangerous obstacle course if we aren’t prepared. We’re required to continually shift our balance when we walk, step down off curbs, use stairs, walk across rough ground and a host of other situations too numerous to mention.

Using one or two sticks to help us with this allows us to be stable at all times. Just consider for a moment. You never see a two-legged stool, do you? The stable configuration is either three or, even better, four legs.

Improve Posture

If we have posture problems caused by bone or muscle issues, the back muscles have to work harder to compensate. Often, they just haven’t got the strength to support the upper body.

This is where a walking stick comes in useful. You push against the stick with your arm to help stand upright. For best posture results it’s best to use two sticks as this will strengthen both sides evenly and keep you walking upright.

Work Out Your Core

When walking without a stick, your arms swing by your side in time to your strides. However, if you use one stick or preferably two, your stroll suddenly becomes a full-body workout. Your arms take some of the effort you experience while walking and you’re continually lifting a stick which can weigh anything from one to two pounds each.

Let’s just see what’s happening when we use two sticks.

Our legs move in stride and each arm swings, helped by the stick’s weight. This exercises those upper body core muscles that wouldn’t usually do much on a gentle stroll. Using two sticks also evens out the assistance for the lower back so that both sides exercise together.

Tone the Upper Body

We’ve talked about exercising the core muscles but sticks also help tone up all the upper body muscles. It isn’t only those in the trunk that benefit, its those in the hands, wrist, arms, shoulders, and neck too. In fact, just about every muscle group in the body get a gentle workout, together with increased blood flow.

Gentle on the Joints

Walking without sticks transmits your total body weight through your legs to the ground. Using sticks for support automatically reduces the weight through the legs as your arms take on some of the load. This reduces pressure on the knee, hip and ankle joints.

Reduce Tension and Stress

Walking with a stick, preferably two creates a gentle repetitive movement that calms your body and mind. The gentle rhythm reduces anxiety and stress, helps to counteract fatigue and manage pain. Your body receives increased oxygen and blood flow which gives you more energy and increases the ability to cope with stress.

Get Outdoors

By far, one of the better reasons to use a walking stick is to encourage the user to walk outside. Most people who have mobility or balance issues find it relatively easy to move around their homes using furniture, fixtures, and fittings as support. They wouldn’t dream of venturing outside where support structures are less easy to find.

With a stick, the outside is suddenly accessible. You can go for walks in the park, on the beach or just to the local store. It’s even no problem to walk to the bus or train station for even longer excursions if that’s what you want to do.

Above all, you’ll have more opportunities for exercise, which will increase the flow of oxygen around the body. You’ll also find that as you exercise more, your muscles will gain strength and your balance will improve.

You’ll be able to visit friends and relatives more easily, which will decrease loneliness (if you live alone) and give the relationship with your partner (if you have one) an extra sparkle as you find you can share more activities as a couple.

What’s next?

A walking stick can help with lower back pain but if you have serious pains in your back it is a good idea to visit your doctor. If you are facing knee pain you may like to read tips to prevent knee pain or how to strengthen legs.

You need to stay active, you may want to try water aerobics or low impact exercises. If you are still in good shape you should read these running tips. If you prefer cycling than you need to read cycling tips for seniors. Whatever you prefer, but you need to stay active.

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