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Why Your Back Hurts After Running and What to do About it.

running with spinal stenosis back painJoggers’ nipple is not the only thing you need to worry about as you dig out your running shoes this spring. Back pain after running is a common complaint and causes many a would be running fanatic to hang up their shoes for good. Is this really necessary or are there things you can do to avoid running-related back pain even when you have spinal stenosis?

Lower back pain can strike anyone, young, old, fit, out of shape, male, female or otherwise but it is a common concern for runners and will be experienced by pretty much everyone who runs at some point. Fairly obvious reasons that your back might hurt after running include existing injuries and going too hard and too long too soon. If your body is not used to pounding the pavements then take things slow and build up to that 5K run; interval training is great for fitness and a much better way to start a new running regime than to throw everything you’ve got at a long hard run and come up short. Even if you don’t feel pain whilst running it may set in once your body’s endorphin levels drop and you may find that you’re in agony with back pain the next day so start gradually and go for quality not quantity.

Give Your Muscles a Chance to Recover

Runners who run long distances before they’re really ready or who don’t give their muscles time to relax, repair and grow stronger in between exercise sessions will likely experience more back pain due to fatigue. They are also more likely to consolidate postural problems by doing the same things over and over without variation. Mixing up your exercise to concentrate on different muscle groups means that you can still get the cardiovascular benefits without fatigue, or boredom, setting in.

Get Professional Running Help

Anyone who suspects they may have problems with their stride pattern or running style can see a specialist to try to iron out those issues and get them back on track. Running stores, gyms, and personal trainers are usually a good place to find coaches with experience of wannabe athletes with back pain. Those with spinal stenosis or other spine condition will want to check with their physician before commencing any kind of running regime as it may be inadvisable.

Other potential causes of running-related back pain include:


  • Past injuries or current illness and ailments
  • Hip problems or core muscle weakness
  • Improper equipment
  • Poor flexibility in the legs and/or back
  • Running uphill or downhill a lot or running on an uneven surface (such as in a forest).

If you experience back pain from running then consider asking yourself if you have the right equipment (are your shoes old and worn), if your running route is too taxing on the joints and spine and if your general health is good enough to be going full tilt. There may be a serious spinal issue, including symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis, behind your back pain from running but most often you can reduce your risk of muscle injuries by beginning sensibly and warming up properly.

Stretches for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Running

The lumbar spine, pelvis and hip area is pretty complex, with 29 muscles working to keep you mobile, flexible and strong. These muscles includes the adductors, abdominals, lumbar spine muscles, hamstrings, and glutes and many of these can be injured by running. They may also simply be weak from years of inactivity and bad posture sitting behind a desk at work every day. Simple daily stretches for back pain relief are also good for keeping you limbered up for when you start your running regime. Stretching well to warm up the muscles and get the blood flowing before you begin speeding down the sidewalk or doing laps of the track will help stave off injuries caused by shocks to the muscles and sudden demands placed on them to go full out when they aren’t yet ready.

Make sure you’re following SpinalStenosis.org on Facebook to get news of our next blog post where we’ll be looking at the kinds of stretches you can do to avoid back pain from running.

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  1. […] exercises can help you limber up for your running regime and avoid running-related back pain but it is important to seek medical attention for persistent or […]

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