More and more people worldwide are reporting that they have back and leg pain that they can't seem to alleviate. It's an epidemic.
Exercise conditioning can make a big difference in the treatment and prevention chronic pain. By putting your feet first, you're doing the rest of your body a big favor.
There are so many ways to prevent and alleviate back and leg pain, and it's no secret that staying fit can make a difference. What you may not realize is that the fitness of your feet is a huge factor in how your body feels overall.
Even if you haven't sustained an injury and you're not an athlete, that doesn't mean that the discomfort you feel as a result of back and leg pain doesn't matter.
Back And Leg Pain Is On The Rise Worldwide
Do you suffer from chronic back and leg pain? You're not alone.
It is estimated that over 78 million people across the globe suffer from chronic back pain. Many of those people end up turning to surgery to remedy the issue.
What used to be the last resort has become commonplace, unfortunately. Certainly, in some situations, it's the best choice.
No one should have to live with leg and back pain every day of their lives.
Unfortunately, surgeries to alleviate chronic back and leg pain can become very pricey. Even without the cost factored in, having to undergo surgery is never anyone's first choice.
They're extremely common, so common in fact that Spinal Surgical Robots are getting more funding to become an option for a variety of hospitals.
Chronic Low Back Pain Is At An All-Time High
The prevalence of chronic low back pain in adults has increased by more than 100% over the last decade. That means that more people than ever are living with a lot of pain.
It's tough to pinpoint the origin in every case, for medical professionals and those suffering alike.
Here's what we do know — there are a variety of factors that can contribute to back and leg pain. These are some of the culprits:
- Increased levels of depression and stress
- Occupational hazards
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Decreased physical activity
- Aging population
- Weight gain
The definition of chronic low back pain is pain that lasts for more than three months. Even at that point, surgery is still not the first line of defense.
Physical activity is absolutely critical in facing chronic back pain and alleviating it. If you are concerned, it's always good to check with a medical professional to see what you can handle, of course.
Believe or not, by exercising your feet and focusing on them, you can alleviate pain in the rest of your body and even prevent chronic back pain from happening in the first place.
There are some very simple ways to get started on your journey. Of course, feel free to take our suggestions step by step.
Movement Makes The Difference
You've probably heard the saying "Move it or lose it!" a time or two and it really is true. What's more is that is what you're moving and how you're moving it that also makes a difference, especially when it comes to back and leg pain.
Simply diving into a workout routine without any particular areas to focus on will not likely give you the results you're looking for. That doesn't mean you have to race to hire a personal trainer to get yourself on the right track.
By starting with your feet, it may feel like you're taking the path of least resistance. It may also seem silly to focus on them if that's not where you're experiencing pain.
It's not silly at all, and in fact, it's a wise choice!
The fact is that starting with simple foot exercises can set you on a journey to moving more freely and having better posture. Once you work on your feet, who knows where they make take you next.
Strengthening your foot muscles makes a huge difference in terms of alleviating back and leg pain and preventing more pain down the road. A simple investment in movement and time can have measurable results.
Related blog: A Guide to finding the best foot and leg massager
Move Your Toes In The Sand
It doesn't sound much like exercise, does it? Well, it is.
A trip to the beach to alleviate back and leg pain is just what the doctor ordered, as it turns out.
By taking a walk on a sandy beach, you're doing your entire body a giant favor. Simply walk for 10-15 minutes barefoot or treat yourself to a run if you're up to it.
It's the resistance of the sand that makes the difference. There's nothing like the texture of sand to give your body a workout that will make you feel great.
No matter how fast or slow you move in the sand, you're improving your proprioception, which leads to better balance and foot position.
Overall, more balance means less pain in your body.
Press Your Toes Regularly
Your feet work very hard each day and they're very closely connected to your knees. If you're feeling stressed in your knees, pressing your toes regularly can work to make them feel much better.
While standing, simply bend your knees and grip the floor with your toes. Stay put for three seconds and then release. Repeat this 10 times.
You'll be building strength and releases tension in the process. Stay consistent and you'll be amazed at the results!
It also warms the feet, so if you have circulation issues and get cold easily, this is a great way to go.
Walk On Your Tippy Toes
You may not have done this since you were a child, assuming you're not currently in ballet classes.
Walk on your toes for short periods of time to increase muscle mass in your toes. Don't do it once it starts to hurt, which means 20-30 seconds is usually the maximum period you should do this for.
Repeat the exercise about 5 times.
Exercise Your Arches
This one is extremely simple and can make a big difference. It's a pretty low profile exercise to do just about anywhere, even in the office.
First, put all your toes down flat and then contract the arch muscles for three seconds at a time. By doing this as little as 3 times a day, 3 times a week, you can strengthen your arch muscles.
Align Your Posture By Spreading Your Toes
Improving your alignment, posture, and overall stability is key to alleviating overall pain, especially in the back and legs. This activity does just that.
Place your big toe on the ground to start. Keep it there.
Start to rotate your heel inward and then press your pinkie toe into the ground to create a fan out of your toes. Do this 3 times a day, 3 times a week.
Pick Up Pencils With Your Toes
Your feet and toes are much stronger than you think. After all, they carry you around everywhere you go.
Take a regular pencil that you have around the house (or the office) and put it on the floor. Stand in front of it, and while maintaining solid posture and balance, pick it up.
Hold the pencil in your toes for a full 10 seconds and then drop it. Repeat this 5 times with each foot.
You can take your time with this one, but make sure to do it often. We recommend doing it 2-3 times a week.
Using resistance training with your feet can make a big difference in terms of strengthening them.
One way to do this is to place the back half of your foot on a sturdy book while placing the forefront on a set of weighing scales. Make sure your foot is as horizontal as it can be.
Press down into the scales to generate force. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
This is a strength training exercise that's fit for athletes that have sustained sports injuries. It does wonders for those who have not had that experience as well who are just trying to alleviate everyday back, hip, and leg pain.
Another resistance exercise that can make a big difference involves the use of an exercise band. Sit on the floor and extend your legs out in front of you.
Wrap the exercise band around a sturdy piece of furniture and then the top of your feet. Slide back until the band is taught and hold for a full 5 seconds.
Release and then repeat this foot exercise 10 times.
You can do either one of these daily to see what your feet are really made of!
Keep The Focus On Your Feet
If you're looking for ways to stay active to alleviate pain, start thinking from the ground up and focus on your feet first!
In addition to doing regular foot exercises, we highly recommend getting regular foot massages as well. Treat yourself by pampering your feet and investing in them!