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Walking Patterns of People with Lower Back Pain

Do people with low back pain have different walking patterns than other people?

A recent study monitored 34 patients with chronic low back pain while they walked on a treadmill. These patients were compared to 22 healthy subjects who walked at the same speed. Patients with low back pain took shorter strides than the other group. This may be because patients with low back pain are trying to avoid discomfort as they walk.

Spinal movement during walking was recorded by ultrasound. In general, both groups showed similar patterns of movement. But patients with back problems showed a lot more variability between strides than the other group. This variability had to do with how much up-and-down motion was recorded. 

The authors think that low back pain reduces patients' control over movement. This may result in less than optimal walking patterns for patients with low back pain. According to the authors, variability in movement should be addressed in the treatment of low back pain.