Running is a great form of exercise that keeps people strong and healthy. However, running can put pressure on certain parts of your body like your back. That pressure can damage your muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones over time and can lead to pain. Lower back pain often comes on fast after running too far before warming up. Less-serious injuries, such as lower back pain caused by muscle strain, which will typically last two to three weeks.
Successful ways to ease lower back pain caused by muscle strain typically include one or a combination of the following:
- Gentle stretching
- Ice or cold packs, applied for 10 to 20 minutes at a time
- A short period of rest (one or two days) if the pain is severe
- Heal therapy or moist heat (Click here for Ice vs. Heat)
- Over the counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen
- Over the counter anti inflammatory medication
There are several steps you can take to prevent lower back pain while running:
- Get new shoes - If you are over-pronating your feet your shoes might be worn out.
- Get shoes that have built in arch supports – If you are over-pronating you may have flat feet.
- Do exercises weekly to strengthen your back and your stomach.
- Stretch before and after running!
- Try running on a forgiving surface and try to avoid running on cement.
Running puts a high level of repetitive stress on the back. Those that suffer from lower back pain need to take important measures to reduce strain on the lower back. If running consistently brings you back pain it is important to go visit your doctor or spine specialist for an MRI to determine the source of pain.