While running is great cardio exercise one can do to keep or get in shape, so many people are hesitant to go for even a short jog because of low back pain, including myself. I went for a run just the other day and I had to stop not even halfway through because my lower back was aching. Low back pain is extremely common for runners to get and the most frustrating factor is how unmotivated one can feel after having back pain from a run. I did not want to exercise for the next few days because of my pain, but once I realized I would need to run at some point again, I decided to do some research on what caused my pain. I found that the most common back pain from running is when your lower back muscles have a spasm which causes the strains and pains.
There are quite a few factors that can cause back pain while running, these are some of them:
1) Running too far without proper supportive shoes: Running without supportive shoes can make you very susceptible to injury because you are straining your joints and back. Experts recommend buying footwear suited to your individual foot mechanics in mind.
- Consult with a running specialist or doctor to determine levels of arch height, stride length and and under or over-pronation.
- Plan to replace running shoes every 3-6 months. Even your favorite pair of shoes has a lifespan.
- Give yourself a few days to break in a new pair of shoes. Walk around in the shoes before going on a long run.
2) Improper running form: Running without proper form can cause a lot of stress to your back leading to aches, pains and further injury. These are some ways to improve your running form:
- Keep your head high between your shoulders, and your back straight.
- Pump your arms only forward and backward, not across the body.
- Develop a comfortable striking motion. Your foot should hit the ground in heel-toe motion.
- Taking shorter and quick strides instead of larger, bounding strides.
3) Tight hip flexors: A very common root cause of low back pain in runners is related to tight hip flexors. This means that glutes and the smaller stabilizing muscles are weak. Running with tight hip flexors changes the curvature in the low back, which leads to low shock absorption while running. Three-dimensional stretches are a very effective way to improve flexibility and joint mobility. Try doing these exercises twice a day and notice a difference in your posture.
- 3D Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
- 3D Hamstring Stretch
- 3D Seated Thoracic Matrix
If you are still experiencing back pain while running after trying these tips, call us at (425) 224-2476 and we will get you back into your running shoes! We are experts who have helped hundreds of people heal from back pain and would love you help you too.