Matthew Smuck and his team of Stanford University researchers analyzed the data of 6,796 respondents of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHAMES), which is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. Here’s what they found:
LIGHT PHYSICAL EXERCISE (including walking around the house, cooking or folding laundry) for two hours reduced back pain about 17 percent compared to individuals who did not engage in such activity.
MODERATE PHYSICAL EXERCISE (walking briskly, riding a bike, gardening or ballroom dancing fewer than 20 minutes a day) diminished the risk of back pain by 32 percent.
MORBIDLY OBESE patients averaged 1.3 minutes of moderate activity at a time. But if they increased that average by just one minute, their risk of experiencing lower back pain was cut by 38 percent.
“More simply put, pushing just a little longer each time you exercise has benefits,” Smuck said. “Pushing a little longer can mean an additional minute of exercise multiple times per day, or adding several minutes following a longer period of exercise.”
Gregory James Chiaramonte, M.D. points out that walking in all forms is beneficial. Walking promotes mental clarity, stimulates the heart and lungs, promotes spine joint mobility, nerve root movement and function. Walking postures affect the spine joints, called the facet joints, and the spine channels, called the neuroforamen.
Uphill walking is different in that the spine joints are in a flexed open position, which might be helpful in conditions where there is nerve root tightness. Uphill walking may even help patients with spinal stenosis and other ailments because it opens up the spinal channel.
Downhill walking is different since the spine joints are in an extended closed position, which could worsen conditions where there is already nerve root tightness. The spinal channel tends to close as well.
About Dr. Ken Hansraj:
On the forefront of spinal surgery American surgeon Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj is a spinal and orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar procedures for example laminectomies and spinal fusions. Dr. Hansraj believes in tailoring the operation to the patient using the latest spine technologies. Dr. Ken is a spinal surgeon at Nuvance Health based at The Vassar Brothers Medical Center in the Hudson Valley, NY
Dr. Ken is the author of the internationally bestselling book, Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine, (January, 2013), which he was inspired to write based on this concept. Dr. Hansraj is also the author of Bloodless Spine Surgery: Pictures and Explanations. His goal with each of his books is to bring years of accumulated expert medical knowledge to the public at-large in an easy-to digest format and to help countless individuals with ongoing spinal and health issues.
Dr. Ken Hansraj is TV and media trained and has extensive experience with national outlets such as CNN, HLN, CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, NPR and has been featured globally. Cision® estimates his current media impressions at 9+ Billions.