can walking make things worse?

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Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
can walking make things worse?

Does anyone know if walking, which is supposed to help the back, can make sciatica worse? I walked once the other day and had more pain in my leg after walking than before I walked. Should I just push through this and keep walking? Or stop?


Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/19/2008 - 5:36pm
See your doctor!!!

Grin if you are having more pain after walking it may be a signal to stop. on the other hand, it could be you need to work through the pain to get out on the other side. ~X( either way, you should talk to your doctor or pt about this. Call i have severe sciatica in my left leg and drag it most of the times i walk. i am on a good nerve pain medication that has helped me more than anything else in years!! anyway, see your doctor if the pain persists. standing still with back and leg problems can often make the problem worse!! activity can be key to pain control. good luck and see your doctor!!! Jenny Grin

cherish22's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/01/2008 - 2:41am

on the nerve damage, walking can make it worse. I have permanent S1 nerve damage and walking kills me. I can only sit/stand/walk 20 to 30 minutes MAX before I am dying of nerve flares, but I burn 24/7 hours a day, just reclining in a chair to avoid those nerve flares.

Just got the SCS (spinal cord stimulator) and it is making a huge difference and I'm really happy.

I agree - pain is usually a signal to stop until you get that answer cleared through your doc.

Take care,


John's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/20/2008 - 4:07am
We all need goals.


It is a very personal thing and how much pain is acceptable while getting through is never easy to ascertain in what is the right thing to do, clearly any exercise will have collective benefit for the whole you. Doing something rather than nothing is favourable, the complexity of chronic pain are never simple and although that adage of pain means stopping is question in where that threshold of getting through may be for every individual. The key thing is that you want to exercise and this may just be a question of pacing, over exertion is the only reason many stop activity and with good help support and guidance they could continue to glean some benefit however small and periodic.

Immobility is clearly detrimental in the longer term and the first step on our PM was to enable everyone to reach a walking goal however small and change that perception of making it worse, and progressive reluctance to partake in any physical activity.

As said, seek medical guidance for your objective and see how it goes.

Take care and good luck, how far can you walk before the pain is increased or has a ongoing impact.

John. =D>

Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/20/2008 - 7:15am

well i walk for a living as a mailman. about a yr or 2 before my surgery i would feel great in the morning before work. by the end of the day my legs would swell and be painful to walk. and i should have checked it out then. now since surgery ive been able to walk a long distance without pain. so yes your body is telling you something.

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 16 min 46 sec ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
Walking is good, but there can be trouble

based on the type of terrain you are walking on. Overall, walking is probably the safest type of exercise that anyone can do.
But you would be surprise as to what the different terrains can do. Some that can add a lot of additional strain, through you off balance, can led to some discomfort:

1- Uneven roads, rocks/holes
2- Sand at beaches
3- Something such as cobble stone roads

So if you do walk on any of the above, just take care regarding how you are walking

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

csp (not verified)
Title: Member

I walked around the neighborhood just the other day - it took about 15 or 20 minutes to finish. There were some hills I guess, but I guess I'm confused as to how this can hurt. I had surgery (laminectomy L5-S1), and all that shows up is scar tissue. My docs (neuro and orthopedic) both said my MRI looked great. I'm tired of hearing that, because something's obviously wrong.

After surgery (last May) I walked for about 2 miles and felt GREAT! Legs were tired, but no leg (sciatica) pain. Then, in September, my leg pain was all the sudden radiating again after a gradual improvement over 4 months. (My neuro thought I had re-ruptured my disc). I had an MRI and CT/Myelo since then, and nothing. So, why would my leg have nerve pain when walking now? Can scar tissue cause this much trouble? When I say scar tissue, the docs act like it's not much. They've said, "Everyone gets scar tissue. It's just the body healing."

I feel I'm quite strong, as I exercise every day... especially back and ab work. I only do exercises that don't increase my leg pain and have been suggested by my therapist.

Just confused!!!!!!!! Confused

Thank you for everyone's input. I appreciate the support.


painmgmtstigma (not verified)
Title: Member
standing and walking hurt sciatica for me.

one time when i was pregnant my left leg completely "froze" in pain and i was at work (aug 2005) when it happened. i went to the pt and he fixed it in one visit. i think he said the nerve just gets pinched and thats all she wrote. traction worked, though, even 6 months pregnant. check with your doctor anyhow.
my pt left after the big one(katrina) so i don't have any pt's that are as good as he was. i've tried 3 already, now i'm trying the injections, but surgery is always an option for me. anyhow, i hope you the best and everyone else also.
fipah, (friend in pain and hope)

p.s. cliffy
didn't know the world had any mailmen that walked. that's acually comforting. i haven't ever seen one, they have those little cutsie right hand driving wheeled vehicles around here.

EM (not verified)
Title: Member
I think, but I could be wrong

when you walk up hill you tend to use more back muscles rather than stomach, leg muscles. Just a guess. EM