The oldest form of cardio, running is a great way to lose weight, strengthen the heart, and cleanse the mind. Unfortunately, for some individuals, it’s also a great way to spur on back pain.
Do you experience back pain after running? Wondering where it’s coming from? While a number of different things could be the culprit, the fault usually lies in 1 of 4 conditions.
Below, we’re going to get into those 4 conditions, discussing not only their symptoms and characteristics but the ways in which you can treat them as well. Let’s go!
Causes of Back Pain After Running
When you feel back pain after running, it could be coming from a number of different problems. These most prominent of these problems will be reviewed below.
1. Poor Posture
One of the most common causes of back pain after a run is poor posture. Those who practice poor running posture place a great deal of stress on their lower backs. This stress can often result in inflamed joints, thus resulting in pain.
The question you might have is: what does good running posture involve? Well, first and foremost, it involves keeping your upper body straight. When running, the upper body should be almost perfectly parallel with the legs.
There is a tendency by some runners to lean back or forward at the waist, both of which place stress on the lower back. This is particularly common during moments of fatigue. So, when you’re about to reach the end of your rope, it’s a good idea to be mindful about the positioning of your upper body.
But it’s not just the upper body that you need to worry about. The lower body contributes to bad posture as well, and particularly the pelvis.
The common tendency is to let the pelvis sag forward, pushing the hips back. Again, this places stress on the lower back, making it a less-than-desirable running style.
To help eliminate this problem, you need to focus on landing on the balls of your feet. Conversely, landing on your heels will almost certainly cause your pelvis to shift forward.
2. Lack of Physical Conditioning
The key to maintaining good running form is to possess good physical fitness. If your muscles are weak or if you’re easily fatigued, you’re going to struggle to hold your body in the correct position as you run. This will lead to poor posture, thus leading to back pain.
While full-body conditioning is ideal, the primary conditioning that you need to focus on is the conditioning of your core. Your core includes everything from your abdominal muscles to your obliques to your glutes and more.
Strengthening the core occurs in a number of ways. If you really want to develop your core, you can prioritize focused weight training exercises. Crunches, squats, and other such exercises can strengthen the core muscles substantially, especially when performed over time.
However, you don’t need to participate in weight training in order to develop these muscles. In fact, running itself helps to develop the core.
By practicing good running form on a regular basis, you will inherently strengthen the muscles in your core. This is because you’ll be forcing said muscles to hold your posture, allowing them to work against resistance and helping them to develop.
3. Sprained Muscles
In some cases, back pain will arise after a run due to a sprained muscle. Either the muscle will become strained during the run or the run will exacerbate a muscle which was sprained before the run began.
Muscle strains are generally caused by overuse. So, if you’ve been running excessively over the last week or so, a sprained back muscle is a true possibility.
Now, what can you do to treat a sprained back muscle? Well, ice and heat are important.
When the sprain first presents itself, it’s a good idea to wear an ice pack for the next 2 or 3 days. After that time period has passed, you’ll want to apply warm towels or some other form of heat.
You’ll also want to lay off the physical activity for a few days. As was noted, sprains arise from overuse. They’re essentially an indication that you’re working too hard.
Medications can help to relieve the pain from sprained muscles. These include Advil Tylenol and Motrin.
If none of these treatments works, you’re advised to see your doctor. He or she can prescribe even stronger medication and can also help you to establish a treatment plan.
4. Degenerative Disc Disease
The most troubling cause of back pain after a run is degenerative disc disease. This is a condition in which the discs within the back deteriorate over time. It is essentially arthritis of the back, and it is one of the most common causes of chronic back pain.
Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease have very little padding between their vertebrae. Therefore, when running, their vertebrae rub up against one another, resulting in severe pain.
Unfortunately, degenerative disc disease is a permanent disease. While its symptoms can be treated, they can’t be cured.
To combat said symptoms, there are a few things you can do. First, you have to stay in shape. The stronger your core is, the less pain your back will experience.
Second, you have to ice your back. This will reduce inflammation, ultimately reducing pain.
Third, you have to participate in physical therapy. Because this is a lifelong condition, it requires regular professional attention.
Note, however, that there are other treatments you can pursue. For example, some individuals see success with chiropractic treatment. Read more about it now.
Do You Deal With Back Pain After Running?
It’s fairly common for individuals to feel back pain after running. After all, poor posture, sprained muscles, lack of physical conditioning, and degenerative disc disease are all prominent conditions amongst human beings. If a person experiences one of these conditions, he or she is highly likely to experience back pain after a run as well.
Do you deal with back pain after runs? If so, we might be able to assist you. Our site is loaded with health information, helping you to maintain your health before, during, and after your runs.
Establish healthy practices by browsing our other articles now!