Lower back pain when running is a common ailment for runners. Many factors can contribute to back pain, such as improper form, weak muscles, and overuse. There are several ways to prevent and treat back pain, including stretches, adjustments to your running routine, and strengthening exercises. Read on our post for full of information.
What Causes Lower Back Pain When Running?
Runners’ Low Back Syndrome is not a medical term. We use it to describe runners’ most common causes of lower back pain. Although they are distinct conditions, we still recommend the same self-help treatment for all four. It can sometimes provide effective relief from any pain. These are the conditions:
1. Facet Joint Irritation
The vertebrae are the building blocks of the spine. These vertebrae are linked to one another by discs at their front (the ones that slip!). The back joints are also connected. These joints can become inflamed and irritated if you have a large hollow in the lower back, such as a gymnast or dancer, and if your abdominal muscles are weak. This could cause pain while running.
2. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Two joints called the Sacroiliac joints can be found on either side of your lower back, just above your buttocks. These joints are easy to spot as they are located next to the two knobbly bones in your lower back.
You will also find two dimples in your skin that lie above the joints. They are called the “Dimples of Venus” (google it to see if you don’t believe me). Running can cause us to land on one side or the other of our feet more often than the other.
This can lead to excessive pressure being applied through the sacroiliac joint (rarely through both). It can cause inflammation and pain.
Want to learn more about how to breathe properly? Check out our post: How To Breathe While Running? Top Full Guide 2023
3. Recover Your Energy
This is exactly what it says. It might not be exactly what it says. It is a weakness in the lower back that causes a loss of control when running. However, it also has a weakness within the abdominal muscle. These two weaknesses result in a global vulnerability of the lower back, which means that the muscles can’t control movement during a run. This causes stress to the spine and results in pain.
4. Myofascial Trigger Points In The Lower Back Muscles
Two things happen when we stress weak muscles: they either cramp up completely or cause them to contract. They can either cramp up completely or a small portion of their muscles will cramp up. This results in trigger points, which are little knots of tight muscle.
These two reactions tend to occur at the end of very important races, according to McCarthey’s Law. This law states that Sod’s law may be too optimistic. The result is that running causes moderate to severe pain that cannot be easily stretched.
In summary, Lower back pain while running is generally caused by:
- Inability to run due to weakness in the lower back and surrounding muscles
- A runner who does too much and over-exertions their lower back.
How To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain When Running
Take Some Time To Warm Up
A good warm-up will increase your heart rate and blood flow and loosen up your muscles, so they’re better prepared for the work ahead.
Start with a light jog or walk to get your muscles moving, then do some dynamic stretches like leg swings and walking lunges. You can also do a few minutes of easy cardio on a machine like an elliptical trainer or stair climber.
Once you’re warmed up, start your run at a comfortable pace and focus on good form. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your head up, and make sure your strides are not too long. If you start to feel any pain or discomfort in your lower back, slow down or stop and rest for a few minutes.
Wear Comfortable Footwear
The best way to prevent lower back pain when running is to wear comfortable, supportive footwear.
Shoes that are too big or too small can cause a number of problems, including blisters, bunions, and calluses. Wearing shoes that are uncomfortable can also lead to back pain. It is important to find shoes that fit well and provide support for the feet, ankles, and legs.
Try Core Muscle Training
The core muscles are the muscles in your abdomen and lower back. These muscles support your spine and help keep your body upright. Strong core muscles can help prevent lower back pain by providing support for your spine and helping to keep your body in alignment.
Core muscle training can help you run with better posture and form, which can lead to less back pain. Try doing some core exercises like sit-ups, crunches, and planks to help strengthen your core muscles.
This means not pushing yourself too hard on a daily basis and giving your body time to recover between workouts. It’s also important to focus on running form and technique.
Poor form can lead to lower back pain, so be sure to focus on keeping your back straight and your head up while you run. If you start to experience lower back pain, take a break from running and consult with a doctor or physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment.
Adjust Running Form
If you have a tendency to run with your shoulders hunched and your head down, this can put unnecessary strain on your back. Instead, try to keep your shoulders relaxed and your head up.
Additionally, focus on taking shorter, more controlled strides rather than longer, more forceful ones.
This will help you avoid putting too much stress on your back. Finally, make sure to warm up properly before running and cool down afterward. This will help loosen your muscles and prevent them from becoming tight and painful.
When to Get Medical Help for Your Back Pain
If you experience back pain that is severe, persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. In some cases, back pain can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a spinal cord injury, infection, or cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:
- Numbness or tingling in your legs or feet
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Sudden, severe back pain
- Pain that radiates from your back to your buttocks, thighs, or legs
- Weakness, instability, or numbness in your legs
- A history of cancer
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- A family history of osteoporosis
- You are over the age of 50
- You have recently experienced a fall or trauma to your back
Strength Training Exercises for Runners
Lower back pain when running is a common issue among runners. The pain can be caused by a number of factors, including weak core muscles, poor posture, and incorrect form.
There are a number of strength training exercises that can help to prevent lower back pain when running. These include core-strengthening exercises such as planks and sit-ups, as well as exercises that target the muscles around the hips and pelvis.
Pilates and yoga are also excellent for strengthening the core muscles and improving posture. It is important to focus on form and alignment when doing these exercises in order to avoid further injury.
Strength training is an important part of any runner’s training regime. By strengthening the muscles around the hips and pelvis, as well as the core muscles, runners can help to prevent lower back pain when running.
Should I Run If I Have Pain in My Lower Back?
If you experience pain in your lower back, it is important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to determine the cause of the pain. Depending on the cause of the pain, running may or may not be recommended.
If the pain is due to a musculoskeletal issue, such as a strained muscle, running may aggravate the condition and should be avoided. However, if the pain is due to a degenerative condition, such as arthritis, running may actually help to improve the symptoms by increasing blood flow and joint lubrication.
Identifying Runner’s Lower Back Syndrome
If you feel any of the following, you should be concerned that you might have RLBS.
1. A burning sensation in the lower back that occurs while running. This usually happens after about 10-15 minutes of the run.
2. The pain may be in the buttocks but not below the knee and it is not accompanied by tingling or numbness.
3. Running over or around the knobbly bony bits at the bottom right of the lower back can cause pain and tenderness. (The Dimples of Venus).
4. Leaning backward or sideways can worsen the pain. However, it is possible to have trouble putting on shoes when you sit down due to myofascial trigger point.
5. Running can make your back feel stiff and vulnerable.
6. It is not obvious why the pain persists. There has been no apparent injury.
Why do I have sudden middle back pain while running?
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.
Is it OK to run with lower back pain?
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.
How to stretch for lower back pain after running?
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.
Back pain is a common issue for runners, and there are a number of things that you can do to prevent it. Make sure you have the right shoes, warm up before you start running, focus on your form, and listen to your body. If the pain persists, see a doctor.