Running has a bad reputation especially as we get older. But really running is an amazing workout! And when done correctly with the proper conditioning it is completely safe. I have helped train a 99 year old to complete a 1 mile down hill run. So Age is not the issue!
But all jokes aside, running is a very intense activity. You are basically doing a single squat over and over again. Lots of people start running as adults to lose weight or get back into shape. And this is why many people struggle with running injuries. They don’t realize that running is not the entry-level exercise. Running requires a lot of strength that we don’t think about. For instance, when was the last time you stood comfortable on one foot? How comfortable are you doing squats?
I remember Sally’s face when I asked her those questions. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would I stand on one foot? I don’t like squats because they hurt my knees.” Were her answers.
Sally called me because her back hurt when she ran and she was scared she herniated a disc.
By the time you’re 40 year old you have at least one episode of back pain and unfortunately once you’ve one episode there is a high likelihood the back pain will return.
This is why one of the most common questions I get is why does my back hurt when I bend down?
Sammy is a 42 year old mom of 3 who started to have back pain at the end of her day. She didn’t think much about the back pain when it started, about a year ago, it was just a mild ache at the end of the day. She just stretched a little bit and by the next morning everything was fine. After a few weeks she started taking ibuprofen at the end of the day to get rid of the pain because it started to interrupt her sleep.
Slowly over time she wasn’t able to find a comfortable sleeping position; she tried to use a pillow to adjust herself at night with minimal relief. As she thought about all the times her back hurt she remembered it she stopped playing on the floor with her kids because her back hurt too much. Her back pain was like a new friend that just hung around all the time and was part of every aspect of her life.
Let’s talk about SI joint pain. We can start by talking about what it is and then I will show you a few stretches to stop it.
The SI joint (sacroiliac) is where your hip bones meet your spine and it is a common site for pain for several reasons: your joint could be moving too much, your joint could not be moving enough or your joint could be slightly out of place (subluxed). Since there are several reasons for pain at this joint it's hard to say specifically why any one person has pain at their SI joint without a hands on physical exam.
Typically, the pain is sharp and it's found on one side of the lower back. The pain gets worse with single leg activity for instance: walking, going up the stairs, running. Some people notice discomfort on one side while squatting, laying flat on your back also.
If these symptoms are what you are dealing with now...try these stretches.
Just an ordinary day of cleaning your home when you bend over to pick up a shoe..when BAM! Your lower back grabs you leaving you with a sharp searing pain that runs all the way down to your foot. You are very familiar with this feeling...it's your disc going out AGAIN. Now you are looking at having to spend a week on muscle relaxers laying flat on your back. Until finally the pain subsides and you can get back to your life. Only to have the pain return after taking your groceries from the car into your house.
I mean...How dare you try to take care of your family by cleaning your house and buying groceries! All jokes aside. Having reoccurring back pain was very frustrating for Karen.
It's normal to get pain and wonder what is this? Is it just a random ache that will go away on its own or is this something that could cause permanent damage. Just the other day my husband had a weird ache on his rib he wanted me to look at just to make sure it was just his rib and not something worse.
Of course, he has easy access to someone who knows where to look and what to press on to determine if there is a serious injury or if the pain is something that will go away quickly.
However, most people if your back starts to hurt all you have are family, friends and google. So if you are up late at night worrying about what your back pain means...it can be scary.
Your mind wanders to the friend that had a bad experience with painkillers, or the family member who’s back went from bad to worse. And no matter symptoms you punch into google cancer seems to alway be the answer.
So how do you find out what it means if you have back pain?
I received this email:
I’m contacting you because I have this severe right lower back pain. It's hard to say when it started. It was simply annoying for the longest time, so I just ignored it. It was just a little achy when I bent over or walked too long but it wasn't strong and didn’t stop me from doing anything. I thought I’d stepped wrong and it would go away eventually. But over the last 2-3 weeks the pain is worse when I lean forward, walking and doing my housework is miserable. Then yesterday I layed on the floor to stretch and my back locked up. I couldn’t move! I had to have my husband lift me up off the floor. The pain was so severe I thought my back was going to snap. After about an hour the pain finally went away but I'm still scared to brush my teeth, to vacuum or bend over to hug my kids. I have to sit down just to hug my kids; which is just crazy to me. I don’t want surgery and I’m afraid to ask for painkillers. Is this something that physical therapy can help with? I really don’t want to be afraid to hug my kids. Is there anything I can do to stop this from getting worse?
I was talking to this woman, Mary, who is in her 40s. She recently started to have lower back pain. As I was talking to Mary about her history she told me about how she takes care of her mother. Her mother started to have severe back pain many years ago that requires her to get corticosteroids shots every few months depending on when the pain returns. Unfortunately, for Mary’s mother when the pain returns she is unable to get out of bed, up from a chair or walk across the room without assistance from Mary or another family member.
This cycle of doctors appointment and shots every few months starting in her 40s caused Mary to feel overwhelmed. That’s how she found me. After downloading my back pain ebook she felt comfortable coming in for an evaluation to see what if anything could be done for her back.
I've receive many phone calls like this....Does this sound like you?
You woke up to searing lower back pain that makes the idea of getting out of bed unbearable. As you lay in bed trying to figure out what you could have possibly done to hurt yourself this badly. While also trying to stop the crazy images of x-rays, MRIs, injections, surgery and wheelchairs from going through your mind. Eventually, you work up enough courage to try and sit up. Once you are up you have a severe back ache that feels better if you stand versus sitting. Your backache gets worse when you stand for a long time, or sit for a long time or sit on your couch at all. Everything you do throughout the day is determined by how you think your back will respond. It's exhausting and overwhelming.
The good news is that back pain doesn't have to continue to run your life. I help active adult overcome back pain to get back to living their best life.
Most people that come to see me are looking for answers about a pain that is stopping them from their favorite activities. Many people are putting off seeing a Physical Therapist or another medical professional because they are afraid of being told they will need a surgery, or they will simply be given medication then dismissed, or they will be told the pain is just from being old and nothing can resolve the discomfort.
Are you worried that wearing amazing fashionable high heels will cause foot pain? knee pain? hip pain? or lower back pain?
Did your mom tell you that if you wear heels you will get bunions?
Dr. Molly discusses how wearing high heels changes the way you stand and walk. She will give you several tips on how to manage these changes to help reduce the stress on your body that is caused by wearing heels.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald