Whether you are new to running or you’ve been running since diapers your back should not hurt before during or after a run. Frequently, I talk to people that think it's normal to have back pain from running. Let me assure you it may be a common issue but it is not normal.
Now, I’m not saying that you need immediate medical attention. But you shouldn’t ignore or push through back pain. Pain is a signal that something is wrong and if you are having pain that lasts longer than 2-3 day it's best to have someone help you resolve it.
Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable or completely stopping you from running. If you wait until you absolutely can’t stand the pain you’re more likely to find out you have permanent damage. However, if you go when the pain starts it’s far more likely no permanent damage has started and everything is completely reversible.
Now to help you start addressing and not pushing through your back pain here are 7 tips.
7 tips To Stop Back Pain While Running
Good Shoes - Make sure you are running with the correct equipment. For this sport, the shoes you wear are very important to reduce the stresses on your body. You need proper support and cushion depending on the surfaces you’re running on and the number of miles you are running. Shoes are designed to last for about.500 miles. Therefore if you are running 9-15 miles every week then you need a new pair every year BUT if you are running about 20 miles a week then you should replace them every 6 months.
What are you running on? - Do you frequently run on the street? Trail run? Or run on a treadmill? There are shoes that are designed for each of these settings. Take for instance trail running, you need good grip to help your balance while trail running. That is why you will find an increased tread and a wider sole on a shoe designed for trail running. Running on the street you should consider a shoe with an increased cushion to help absorb the impact from the cement. Choose the right running shoe for the the surface you are running on can make a world of difference to your joints and muscles.
Warm up/ Cool Down: When you’re a kid you just run for fun, you don’t get sore or feel the need to stretch. Welcome to adulthood...your body needs a transition. Just like when you put on music to get your mind pumped up for your run. Your body needs 5- 10 minutes to get ready for the run, then it needs 5-10 minutes to transition out of the run. Once you get into the habit of warming up and cooling down your body will wonder why you didn’t always do them.
Stretch: Stretching is vital for everyone but especially anyone trying to run. Stretching helps your muscle and joints maintain the balance and resilience to run. All running programs I design have a day of stretching because it helps you become more in tune with your body and improve it recovery time.
Strengthening: Running is an endurance sport but that doesn't mean your body shouldn’t also be challenged by strengthening exercises. All progressional runs follow a strengthening program. So why wouldn’t all runners, new and old? Having the proper muscle strength throughout your body is key part of staying injury free throughout your life. So make sure you are incorporating a strengthening day to your running regimen.
ice/ heat:Try ice for 10 minutes if that doesn’t relieve your symptoms then try heat for 10 minutes. Which ever one helps your pain is the right one for you. But you shouldn’t feel the need to constantly have ice or heat on your body to make it through the day. After using one of these you should have less or no pain for at least 30 minutes.
See a physical therapist to find the root cause, if you’ve been dealing with nagging back pain for longer than 2-3 days. There are a variety of reasons for back pain while running; why let discomfort steal the joy of running and being active for any longer than necessary. Learning what the root cause of the pain, creating a plan to stop the pain, fix the problem then make your body resilient against the same injury.
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