Why do you have back pain when running

Why do you have back pain when running?

Jogging is a popular exercise due to its simplicity, great endurance training, and calorie-burning benefits. However, many runners face back pain while running, which can hinder their exercise routine. So, what causes this back pain during running, and how can we fix it?

Signs of Back Pain from Running

Back pain triggered by running can manifest in various ways. Typically, you might feel the pain after you’ve finished your run or a few days after taking a break from running. Some experience back pain while running, which continues even after a break. There are three common types of back pain related to running: muscle-related, bone-related, and low back pain. Low back pain is especially prevalent in runners. Back spasms often result from prior injuries, inflammation, or weak muscles in the area. If one muscle is stronger than its counterpart, it can cause an imbalance affecting your posture while running.

Unveiling the Mystery: Why Running Causes Back Pain

Running is supposed to be a stress reliever, but when aggravating back pain joins the party, it can be a downer. It’s frustrating to witness many runners struggling with this issue and enduring prolonged injuries due to pushing through the pain.

Yet, here’s a silver lining: since many runners grapple with low back pain, movement and running experts have pinpointed some of the most common culprits.

#1: Pelvic Drop

Pelvic drop often happens due to weak glutes or lack of control in the gluteal muscles. Glutes not only power your running but also play a crucial role in stabilizing your hips and trunk during movement. When one side of your hip drops lower than the other, it compresses, putting more pressure on your spine.

Running Causes Back Pain due to pelvic drop

How to Fix Pelvic Drop:

Begin by checking how well your glutes are activating. Before focusing on building muscle strength, start with progressive activation drills. These drills may involve exercises with resistance to ensure both gluteus medius and gluteus maximus are functioning optimally.

#2: Over-Stride

Over-striding restricts proper joint flexion at your hips, knees, and ankles, resulting in increased braking forces. This also limits muscle contraction in essential areas like the glutes, quads, and calves, crucial for shock absorption. The force from running can travel up your legs to your lower back due to this improper alignment.

Running Causes Back Pain due to over-striding

How to Correct Over-Stride:

For lasting relief, aim to increase your cadence or the number of steps you take per minute. A higher cadence means quicker step turnover, giving you less time to extend your leg too far in front.

#3: An Upright Trunk

While runners are often advised to maintain an upright posture, excessive upright running or a slight backward lean can be problematic. It takes away the engagement of your glutes, leading to compensatory movements that direct impact forces towards your spine, causing low back pain.

Running Causes Back Pain due to upright trunk

How to Correct an Upright Trunk:

Picture yourself as Superman ripping open your shirt to take flight or imagine running into a strong wind, keeping your chest out and leaning slightly forward. These mental cues can help you maintain a slight forward lean while running.

#4: Limited Hip Extension

Restricted hip extension can alter pelvic position, create muscle imbalances, reduce shock absorption, and prompt compensation patterns that strain your lower back and hamstrings.

Running Causes Back Pain due to limited hip extension

How to Improve Hip Extension:

Consistent stretching is your ally to prevent tight hips from limiting your runs. Extend your static stretches to 1-2 minutes for better results, instead of the usual 30 seconds.

Returning to Pain-Free Running

Running itself isn’t the issue; it’s about understanding and adjusting your biomechanics to prevent common pain and injury. Additionally, it involves gradually training your body to handle the demands of running. If you’re dealing with low back pain from running, don’t just focus on the symptoms! Dive into the root cause of your pain and collaborate with a specialist to plan the next steps toward recovery.

Remember a few additional tips:

  • Avoid carrying heavy loads
  • Ensure a thorough warm-up for your hands and feet
  • Opt for specialized, comfortable shoes for running
  • Don’t push yourself too hard during your run.