Avoiding Lower Back Pain In Runners

Running & Back Pain

A common complaint among runners is mild to severe lower back pain. From performing the proper stretching exercises before going for a run to being fit for the perfect pair of running shoes, to practicing proper running form, runners try many methods to alleviate lower back pain symptoms. While the same approach may not work best for all runners, exercise is the common denominator that can help both inexperienced and seasoned athletes avoid potentially debilitating lower back pain.

From One Muscle to Another

Lower back pain may not be a runners first concern amid the other aches and pains that can plague amateur and professional athletes, but it can be one of the most debilitating. Due to the very nature of running, where the body is held vertical for extended periods of time, putting stress on one area will naturally impact another. As the body’s center, the back can make up for the weaknesses in other areas of the body.

For example, weak hip and gluteal muscles may become tired during a run. When this happens, the lower back picks up the slack and works harder to keep the body stable and upright. Running in this way makes people more vulnerable to pain and dysfunction.

What can be done to make sure the body muscles are working in harmony to best support runners and ensure they are not plagued by lower back pain before, during, and after a run? The answer to this question lies in executing precise exercises that work the core along with other muscle groups.

Engaging the Core for Better Runs

Although runners experience other issues, such as overall achiness, lower extremity stress fractures and foot pain, persistent lower back pain is high on the list of complaints. Integrating additional exercises into a running routine may be a preventive step in successfully eluding lower back pain for runners.

The key is in performing consistent, careful exercises that strengthen the whole body while increasing general flexibility. The core provides stability to the spine and spinal muscles. Where there is weakness – be it in hips, quads, glutes, or hamstrings – the back takes the brunt of it during a run, which can create dysfunction.

An individualized exercise program combined with the correct manual therapy techniques may help relieve lower back pain in the most avid runners

Every exercise given by our PTs is tailored to the individual, but each will probably have one important thing in common. Each works core muscles, and when these are strong, the possibility of experiencing lower back pain lessens. A strong core not only helps runners avoid lower back pain, it can also prevent injuries and teach proper form and positioning. Enhancing core strength can also help runners circumvent other treatments, such as expensive medication with adverse side-effects, even unnecessary surgery.

For more information on on how Capital Area Physical Therapy can help runners avoid lower back pain, contact us at 518-289-5242 (Malta) or 518-502-1154 (Queensbury).