What Causes Lower Back Pain When Walking? 

Lower back painThe underlying causes of lower back pain when walking can be complex. Lower back pain is often the result of a relationship of risk factors. Exploring the most commonly involved markers of health can help readers improve their pain symptoms.  

Do you struggle with lower back pain when walking? You aren’t alone. Nearly 40 percent of adults in the US experience some form of back pain, often leading to some form of physical impairment, including poor mobility and loss of quality of life. Discover the underlying factors behind your pain and identify potential treatments and solutions with a trained professional.  

Losing mobility in your day-to-day due to pain can be devastating. In this article, we will explore the common causes of lower back pain when walking and talk about a few ways a pain management team might help you alleviate your discomfort, as well as which home remedies to try. Take the first few steps with us towards understanding and addressing lower back pain when walking.  

Why Do You Feel Lower Back Pain When Walking? 

When it comes to pain, even the most obvious explanation usually only offers a surface-level look at what might be a deeper problem.  

There are biological, psychological, and even social factors that contribute to the form and intensity of a person’s pain symptoms, especially over time. 

Even in cases of injury, where it is easier to draw a straight line from the injury event to the resulting pain, it’s important to remember that the intensity and longevity of your pain is not solely dependent on the injury itself. Sometimes, pain can persist past the point where an injury might have healed. And with the right approach, pain symptoms can become more manageable, improving mobility even soon after a back injury.  

Lower back pain can be categorized based on how intense the pain is, where it is felt, as well as signs and symptoms that might hint at one or multiple causes and contributing factors. When a patient approaches a doctor with significant back pain, a physical examination and thorough look at a patient’s medical history can provide insight into potential causes. Doctors may also utilize other tests, such as nerve blocks and imaging tests, to further isolate the cause of the pain – whether it is muscular or neural, for example.  

Not all back pain is equal, even when felt in the same place. A sharp or burning pain in your back after a strenuous activity may be the result of a pulled muscle, or a pinched nerve. If you have been experiencing severe back pain, or moderate pain that won’t go away, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before seeking to remedy the problem yourself.  

Muscle Strains, Posture, and Musculoskeletal Conditions 

When identifying musculoskeletal causes of back pain, a doctor may first rely on physical examinations to identify what type of movement causes the most pain, to help a patient limit their initial range of motion, and to extrapolate what kind of injury might be causing their pain. X-rays and CT scans are poor at showing soft tissue damage, such as a muscle tear or ligament damage – but other imaging technology, such as an MRI, can provide a better visual.  

Posture is usually a poor indicator for future or current back pain. While it’s been popular to lay some of the blame for back pain on slouching or an otherwise poor posture, there isn’t any evidence to show that a rounded back is any more or less likely to result in pain, in the long-term. Sedentary living, on the other hand, or a lack of daily activity can contribute to back pain, as well as conditions associated with physical discomfort.  

In other words, slouching or having a more rounded back than normal likely isn’t going to contribute to back pain – but spending most hours of the day lying down or sitting still may affect your back health.  

Spinal Conditions, Stenosis, Disc Degeneration, and More 

Weakened, strained, or injured muscles and soft tissues are not the only cause of back pain. In some cases, the pain may be neuropathic. Spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis (the narrowing of certain spinal cavities), spondylolisthesis (the misalignment of discs), disc degeneration, or an acute nerve root impingement can cause varying forms of lower back pain while walking.  

Some pain is entirely localized, while other pain is referred pain – meaning the cause of the pain is separate from where the pain is felt. Oftentimes, especially whenever nerve damage is involved, the pain can spread from one part of the back to another.                 

Your mental health and mindset can affect the outcome of your pain management plan, as well as the severity of your pain. A more depressed mood or negative outlook can generally increase or worsen existing pain, or even cause back pain. 

Gaining a better understanding of the factors behind your pain, and the purpose of each treatment or prescribed modality can help you feel confident in the outcome of your treatment, and move on towards each new day with a brighter outlook. That’s why we find it important to field and answer every question that might come our way and ensure that our patients think positively.  

We often hear patients ask what exercises they should avoid with lower back pain. This may depend on where your pain is felt, and when it is felt the most. In some cases, walking up a slope may result in less pain than walking down a slope. A Stair-master, similar equipment, or taking the stairs to go up a floor but using the elevator to come back down might help reduce pain or give you an option for pain-free exercise. 

If you do experience back pain while walking, you might want to know if you should stop walking. In most cases, doctors would recommend or even encourage movement while recovering from an injury. The caveat here is that no two cases are entirely alike, and there may be factors that require you to consider assisted walking for a time to avoid aggravating your back.  

If you want to know more about recovering from a back injury or dealing with spinal pain, give us a call at PMIR to discuss your condition, learn more about your physical therapy and treatment options, as well as potential day-to-day activities for active pain relief.  


Muscle damage, sprained or torn ligaments, swelling, benign growths, aberrant nociceptors, impinged nerves, confused nerve signaling, acute neuropathy, or even psychosomatic pain – aside from the countless factors that shape and inform back pain, there are many possible causes for what feels like the same pain on the surface.  

If you feel lower back pain when walking, it’s important to discuss your concerns with a medical professional. A helpful and thorough diagnosis will be your first step towards an effective treatment. Just like pain itself, pain management is multifaceted.  


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Pain Management & Injury Relief

About Pain Management & Injury Relief

Pain Management and Injury Relief is a leading patient-centered pain clinic in Southern California. Our goal is to help you achieve long-lasting pain relief. By utilizing the latest medical technologies and equipment paired with innovative procedures and treatments, our team can help you improve your quality of life.

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