Back Pain After Running? Here’s What to Do to Help
Running is an excellent form of aerobic conditioning for the body, but it can be harsh on the spine. Many people experience lower back pain after running. Pain doesn’t have to slow you down, though. Using proper form and training, you can minimize back pain after running and get back to doing what you love.
Why Does Your Back Hurt During or After Running?
Running can cause lower back pain due to muscle strain, herniated discs and exaggerated curvature of the spine. Most frequently, this pain comes from the discs of the spine. While you run, the discs in your spine absorb the shock of your body as it bounces up and down. As you grow older, these discs may deteriorate and lead to pain.
Hyperlordosis, or exaggerated inward curvature of the spine, is another leading cause of back pain while running. Hyperlordosis pushes your stomach and tailbone to curve outward, creating an exaggerated “S” curve in the spine. You can test for hyperlordosis by standing against a wall and checking to see if your back is flush.
As with any exercise, running may also lead to muscle sprains and strains. Intense physical activity can cause muscle tension, torn ligaments and hyperflexibility.
How to Reduce Back Pain While Running
Running and back pain don’t have to go hand in hand. Prevent and minimize back pain through the running techniques listed below.
1. Take Some Time to Warm Up
Before starting every running session, make sure to warm up properly. Stretching primes your muscles and prepares them for aerobic exertion. Before you begin running, take a least a few minutes to walk or jog at a slow pace before breaking into a long and steady stride.
2. Wear Comfortable Footwear
Align your posture from the ground up by choosing a supportive running shoe. Choosing the right shoe can help build back strength that alleviates pressure on your spine.
3. Try Core Muscle Training
Core muscle training exercises can help you achieve spinal stability and integrity. Try warming up with core exercises that focus on the abs and lower back — such as sit-ups and spinal twists — to minimize exertion on the spine and prevent lower back pain after running
4. Avoid Overtraining
Overtraining is counterproductive to your exercise routine and is more likely to harm your body than help you train. To minimize your back pain, run no more than four times a week and do not increase your speed and distance simultaneously. Always give yourself at least one day of rest from training per week.
5. Adjust Your Running Form
Poor running posture can lead to back pain during running. While you run, keep your chest forward with your arms back and develop a striking motion from the middle of your foot to your toes.
6. Try Running on Soft Surfaces
Soft surfaces, like rubber tracks or asphalt, are preferable to cement for running. The softness of these tracks minimizes shock on your joints and muscles.
Let the Spine Institute of North America Alleviate Your Back Pain
At the Spine Institute of North America, our physicians will help you treat your back pain in the most effective and least invasive way to get you running again. Schedule a consultation to relieve your pain and revive your life.