Back pain affects millions of people worldwide and can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, injuries, stress, and more. Its intensity can range from mild to severe.
Yet, only a few people are aware of the fact that our feet can also contribute to back pain, as they play a major role in our movement, and are vital for our body posture.
Lower back pain, known as lumbosacral pain, can be a result of conditions related to your feet. Pain in the lower back sometimes occurs due to over-pronation of the foot, which occurs when the arch of the foot ‘collapses’. Over time, the foot rolls inward, so the leg itself starts rotating inward. The pelvis tilts forward, increasing the curvature of the lower back.
Prolonged periods of standing can worsen this condition by tightening the muscles, leading to discomfort and stiffness. Other conditions caused by over-pronation are misaligned bones, hammertoes, bunions, and knee pain.
Flat feet, in particular, can lead to misalignment with the ankle, which differently links the joints, causing misalignment in the knee joint. That can affect the hips and the way you walk, which in turn impacts the spine and lower back.
Here are some beneficial foot exercises that can help you treat back pain without using painkillers:
Toe pressing activates the blood flow in the feet and thus alleviates the pain in the back. Stand upright on the floor with the knees bent, and grip the floor with the toes. Hold for 3 seconds, and repeat 10 times with each foot.
Try walking on the toes for 20 seconds daily, in order to strengthen the tendons and muscles and soothe the back pain.
Sit on the floor and cross one of the legs over the other. Then, stretch the toes in all directions three times, and repeat with the other foot.
Toe pencil grip
Stand upright with the knees bent, put a pencil on the floor, and try to grab it with the toes. Hold it for a few seconds, relax, and repeat several times.
Heel tendon stretch
Stand in front of a wall, stretch one leg in front of you, bend the right knee while moving the hips toward the wall, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
While lying on the floor, stretch the legs in front of you, and wrap a towel around the feet. Raise them with the knees straight, and hold when the knee is just over the head. Repeat with the other leg.
Lying on the floor, stretch one leg up, and circle the ankle for up to 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Sit on the floor with one leg in front of you, and bend the other under the thigh. Try to reach the toes and move them around for half a minute. Repeat with the other leg.
Resistance bend stretch
Sit down on the floor, with a chair in front of you. Wrap one end of a resistance band on the chair and the other on the feet. Pull back as much as you can, hold for 15 seconds, and make 10 repetitions.
Step on a tennis ball on the floor with the arch, and start pushing it back and forward to massage the foot.
The following video will show some effective stretches to help you alleviate back, knee, and hip pain: