Back Pain and Running

Back pain and running seem to go hand in hand for many runners. Whether you’re just starting out or an overzealous veteran, you can find yourself a victim of back pain. Just like with all exercises, running can be an excellent way to lose weight and increase cardiac function. But running needs to be done in a proper way to decrease risk of injury.

Back Pain Causes for Runners

  • Over-striding: This can occur when someone takes steps that are simply too big for one’s size. These bigger steps can often cause excessive rotation that moves the pelvis and spine in one direction more than the other, which can cause misalignments and contribute to back pain.
  • Over-swinging: While running, some people often tend to swing their arms a little more vigorously than necessary. This can cause one arm to swing more than the other (usually the non-dominant arm), which can attribute to a spine misalignment.
  • Worn footwear: Inappropriate shoes are often the biggest cause of back pain amongst all types of runners. Whether worn-out or simply improper shoes, running footwear is a large component of a pleasurable running experience. To find the best running footwear for you please visit Runner’s World.
  • Improper running style/posture: Another large cause of back pain in runners, improper running style and posture can ruin a person’s potential to enjoy running as a regular exercise. The general accepted practice of running is to let your body be loose and comfortable but try and maintain an aligned posture. For more information click here.
  • Running length/terrain: While running lovers tend to want to run all day every day, this is simply not a great way to maintain a healthy and pain-free running lifestyle. Even though running is a great and beneficial exercise, overdoing it can lead to chronic pain. In order to ensure a pain-free run, try to keep runs shorter rather than longer (preferably around 30 minutes), as long runs can compress and shock the spine. Additionally, try to keep your running terrain as even as possible to avoid further spinal shock absorption by an uneven landscape.

These causes are all factors that can lead to back pain in most runners and should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further pain. If you may be at a loss for answers to some of these causes try the following solutions to help find back pain relief and prevent future back pain:

  • Core strength training: Most runners tend to focus solely on running and not on core strength training which can help strengthen the core and prevent back pain.
  • Duration variation: Vary durations of runs to reduce impact and back strain.
  • Balanced routine: Try to balance high-impact exercises like running with low-impact activities such as swimming in order to reduce stress put on the body.
  • Warm-up exercises: As with all exercising, perform thorough warm-up exercises prior to engaging in intense running activities to reduce risk of pain.
  • Regular stretching: Prior to and after each running session, make sure to maintain a regular stretching of hamstring and leg muscles to avoid undue strain.
  • Proper shoes: Always wear comfortable and proper running shoes and replace worn shoes often to avoid unnecessary pain.
  • Frequent breaks: Take frequent breaks between circuit runs in order to reduce the stress exerted on the body and to ensure that the body is able to recover adequately from each intense activity.
  • Ice/Heat compress: If pain persists try using an ice or heat compress in order to relieve muscles. Click here to learn how to make an ice or heat compress and its benefits.
  • Chiropractic treatment: Another popular option to relieve pain from running could be chiropractic treatments which can restore nerve flow and optimize motion for a greater effect from running.

All of these solutions can lead to a healthier running experience and greatly improve the results achieved by eliminating or greatly reducing your risk of back pain. If followed, these simple yet effective solutions can also turn your running experience into a helpful preventative exercise for back pain relief by taking a negative experience and turning it into a positive healthy one.

Running to Prevent Back Pain

  • For beginners: Start slow with short distances and times. This will enable your body to slowly grow into a strong and healthy runner.
  • Running helps lose weight: Healthy running is one of the most popular ways to lose weight. Losing extra weight can also help with reducing the amount of stress put on your back and therefore decrease back pain.
  • Rehydrate often: Don’t ever forget to keep your body constantly hydrated when working out and when running. Since our bodies can be up to 60% made up of water at any time, we require it to replenish our muscles and provide us with the hydration necessary to complete long workouts.

If you are able to follow these steps, you will be able to turn into a runner without the fear of suffering pain from this excellent and popular exercise.
For more information on back pain and back pain relief methods please visit our website.

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