A recent study done in Turkey took a look at the walking patterns of chronic pain patients- ideopathic neck pain, to be specific. They based their hypothesis around previous studies that have shown that people with chronic ideopathic neck pain (CINP) had abnormal walking patterns (known as gait), whether it be in the physical pattern or in the timing of their walks.

The scientists recruited 20 individuals with CINP as well as 20 healthy individuals without CINP to perform 10 minute walking tests with pressure sensitive insoles inserted into their shoes. They performed three different tests: Preferred walking, preferred walking with head rotation, and walking at maximum speed.

The study showed that individuals with CINP had a slower gait speed in all three walking conditions compared to the control groups. The gait was also found to be asymmetric in individuals with CINP in two out of three of the different test groups. This is important because gait asymmetry has the potential to load your entire body unequally, causing unbalanced strain on your muscles, joints, and other problem areas. These can lead to other musculoskeletal problems in the future.

Here at Norman Marcus Pain Institute, we see many patients with chronic pain everywhere, not just in the neck. We also often see collapsed arches in patients’ feet as well as uneven strides that can be magnifying discomfort on one side of the body vs the other. Recently we have started recommending special orthotics designed to strengthen and correct imbalances and weak arches. We occasionally recommend that our patients see a professional gait analyst to find ways to correct these imbalances to relieve some of the strain that their muscles may be experiencing.


Filed under: pain management

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