How to Prevent Lower Back Pain When Running

Trained runners or people who run regularly are well-versed in the aches and pains that come from training and running – regardless of whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon. For those who have recently picked up the sport, these aches and pains can be enough to deter you from continuing.

Regardless of your experience level, if you feel lower back pain while running, you may stop and wonder if you’re pushing yourself too hard, or if your running form needs improvement. You need relief – and fast.

Why does your lower back hurt when you run?

Pain in your lower back while running can be caused by several things. If you’re an experienced runner, pain in the lower back is likely caused by a muscle strain, pinched nerve, or arthritis.

If you’re new to running, your muscles may not be strong enough yet to support the strain of running – especially long distances. Muscles that can impact your lower back and cause pain include:

  • Core
  • Hips
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings

These muscles support your back. As you run and become fatigued, your lower back begins to pick up the slack and works harder to keep you upright and stable. Weak muscles increase your risk of injury, so it’s important that you strengthen these areas along with your cardio workout.

In some cases, lower back pain may be so severe that you double over. If this is the case, you should contact your doctor immediately. Pain shooting down your legs or such severe pain that you can’t stand up straight may be signs of something more serious like a spinal injury. Your healthcare provider can properly diagnose the cause of your pain.

How can you prevent lower back pain while running?

Strength Training

If the cause of your lower back pain is muscle-related, then the best thing you can do to prevent it from getting worse and alleviate symptoms is through strength and flexibility training. By strengthening your core, hamstrings, hips, and other muscles, you can reduce lower back pain and prevent spasms. Flexibility, especially in the hamstrings and glutes, will help reduce risks of pinched nerves and tears. Some exercises that you can do for cross-training include:

If strengthening your muscles seems to agitate your lower back or symptoms while running worsen, you should contact your doctor immediately. The cause of your back pain may be chronic or more severe than simple muscle or flexibility training can solve, and you may need interventional pain management.

Improve Your Running Form

A factor that often gets overlooked is your running form. While there isn’t a universal technique that every runner should follow, having proper form decreases the stress on your knees, hips, and lower back. A good rule of thumb is to use longer strides, with a cadence between 170 and 190.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If lower back pain when running is making life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.

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