Helping Runners Prevent Lower Back Pain

There is no getting around it: running isn’t great for your lower back

Depending on the running surface, how hard you strike the ground, and what kind of shoes you wear, each step represents a shock that ripples up through the joints of your lower body and eventually reaches your spine. This repetitive stress causes strain in the structures and muscles of your spine; if that strain is allowed to accumulate sufficiently, it can cause serious problems that result in back pain and degeneration. A few primary goals for all runners concerned about their spines should be:

  • Limiting the amount of trauma that reaches the spine by:
    • Varying your running surface
    • Making sure to wear supportive shoes
    • Focusing on maintaining proper running posture
  • Apart from running, focus on strengthening the muscles that matter for supporting the spine 
    • Core muscles stabilize the transfer of forces 
    • Maintain pliability and full range of motions in muscles that support your lower back 

 An action plan for runners who are looking to avoid lower back pain

Here is one example of a way you can stay ahead of back pain and keep on running:

  • Always warm up: do jumping jacks and pre-run stretches to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the run ahead.
  • Running surface: try to run on rubber and avoid concrete, if possible; wear supportive shoes that are custom-fit to your feet. 
  • Just as you should vary your running surface, you should also vary your workout- try to alternate your running with strength training that helps you avoid overuse and repetitive stress
  • Always cool down- focus on stretching the hamstrings which often become over tightened and create a pull on the lower spine. 

Running is a full-body tonic that supports your spine in myriad ways. At Associates in Chiropractic, we see it as our responsibility to ensure you don’t let your running habit become the cause of your lower back pain! If you are interested in this preventive approach to healthcare, give our office in Hackensack a call to schedule an appointment today. 

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