Using walking poles is the only way I can manage to do fitness walking and when my back acts up I use them whenever I walk. Something about using the poles keeps me in better alignment and my knees don't ache. It's also pretty hard to over stride when using the poles.
I use the Exerstrider poles - they are available online not in stores, but don't let that deter you. They come with a great instructional DVD and book - http://www.walkingpoles.com/
I eventually bought these after ignoring several recommendations (on another forum) about how great these poles are. I wanted to go cheaper and was not sure about the differences of the Exerstriders from most of the other walking poles. Boy was I wrong. I own two sets, both adjustable - one set the OS2 I keep at home and the Activator set I keep in the truck, used them at work and they are my travel pair.
The pluses for me, they are adjustable, the grip is very comfortable and grip isn't really what you do - the action of holding it is more like cradleing so it's easier to master the pump action of the correct stroke.
The difference between the OS2 and the Activator - the OS2 is a twist action adjustment - the adjustments are unlimited. The Activator has a little spring button that allows for 5 different settings. Since I get good fit with the Activator it's my preferred one for travel since the other one requires a bit more fiddling with to get the same adjustment every time.
A little long here - hope the info helps.