Should I Use a Walker or a Walking Stick?

Should I Use a Walker or a Walking Stick? 150 150 Phoenix Spine & Joint

What is Preventing Your Back PainBack pain can cause you to feel unstable, and many people gravitate toward walkers or canes. But could these tools be hindering your recovery?

Get Upright

With any back pain, the primary goal is to be able to get back to walking and standing in a natural position. So what type of aid can help you get back into that natural upright position? The answer is simple: any tool that doesn’t continue to encourage a hunched over position. Keep this in mind when trying to decide between a walker or walking stick.

Eyes to the Sky

Here at Phoenix Spine, the major piece of advice we give when someone asks what tool will help while walking around is, “don’t look at the ground if you don’t want to be on it.” Hunching over may be the most comfortable position, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for your pain in the long run. Walkers in particular often cause people to hunch over and walk looking down at the ground. The poor posture that is encouraged by using a walker or cane can weaken the core muscles and aggravate back pain.

Walker or Walking Stick? What Should I Use?

Walking sticks are a much better solution if you feel like you need support but want to remain upright. Using a tall walking stick will force you to extend your arms in front of you look forward rather than down at the ground. This position will naturally lengthen your spine and get you upright faster. If both of your arms are pointing forward, you will gain strength even more quickly. Double walking sticks are an even better tool to help get you moving again while encouraging you back into a good upright posture.

Move More

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again. The best thing you can do for your back pain is to move. Do whatever it takes to get up, even if that means you have to use a tool to help stabilize yourself. Canes and walkers aren’t bad if they give you the courage to get around, but you shouldn’t stick with these tools for an extended amount of time.
Breathe deeply, put one foot in front of the other and work toward feeling comfortable walking with a walking stick. And who knows, maybe that walking stick will encourage you to start hiking as you heal.
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