We may commonly think that our back has nothing to do with running, or there will no impact while doing this exercise. However, the fact is entirely the opposite. When you run, the whole body is vertical, and sometimes, for a long time. It involves your core muscles that support your spine and lower back. Additionally, the core hips, glutes, and hamstrings greatly support your body while running. If any of these muscles get weak, it will affect the others as well.
According to National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke, “About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.”
For example, if your hip and gluteal muscles get weak during a run, then it will compel your lower back to work harder in helping you keep upright and stable. As a result, you are more prone to getting an injury during your race.
Moreover, running puts immense pressure on the lower back, and therefore, it crucial that you take the necessary precautions and do the required workouts if you are keen on running a long distance in your routine fitness regimen.
Several people suffer from backaches on frequent occasions. So, these individuals should be extra careful if they are keen on incorporating a running activity into their workout regime. However, in any of these cases, it is advisable to take prevention before indulging yourself in this activity.
Let us take a look at some of the troubles runners face in their low back.
When you experience sudden pain in your lower back, it indicates that you likely have a muscle spasm. Your muscles will stiffen up, and you will have extreme and unbearable pain.
According to South Toledo Physical Therapy, “When you fall asleep and remain mostly immobile overnight, that allows the inflammation to grow thicker and irritate the joints even more. The result is that when you wake up in the morning, your joints are stiff and achy.”
If your lower back pain is linked with pinching aches down the back of one or both legs, then you are likely suffering from sciatica. You will have a pinched nerve causing discomfort.
If you experience a chronic pain across the entire area of your lower back, then you are likely to have arthritis.
However, runners commonly suffer from injuries like sprains & strains to lower back ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These injuries occur suddenly or can even result from the prolonged stress of weeks, months or years of running workouts. Experts can treat these injuries and can help individuals return to running.
You can effectively prevent getting running injuries and the low back pain with the following tips.
Warm Up Accurately
Before starting your actual workout or the fitness activity that involves your entire body and core muscles, you should do a thorough warm-up. In the case of starting a running exercise, your warm-up should include the core and leg muscles.
Moreover, when you start running, build up the speed gradually. For example, start to walk slowly for 10 minutes, then start jogging, and then ultimately speeding up to running. Alternatively, you can also engage in aerobic exercise and yoga for this matter. All these exercises give a great amount of warm-up. These cardio activities accelerate the blood flow and allow the muscles to have sufficient time to engage in the action.
Cool Down Properly
Cooling down after a rigorous workout is equally important as warming up. After completing your exercise, the body needs sufficient time to transit into less-intensive activity. Therefore, incorporating a cool-down activity is crucial.
You can start cooling down by reversing the warm-up. For example, gradually, switch to slow running from the faster one. Then, turn to slow walking for 10 minutes. It will help you cool down several muscle groups and flush out the toxins. As a result, it prevents soreness and injury. After cooling down, gently stretch your lower back.
Seek Physical Therapy
Sometimes, injuries do not heal quickly and easily. The pain of overuse injuries may not go away without medical intervention. Medicines surely, help in decreasing the pain, however, you can always take the assistance of a physical therapist. They offer effective and the most relevant therapies and treatment programs to help you recover faster. Additionally, they also offer injury prevention programs.
Physical therapy has proven to heal a wide range of aches and injuries. There are various kinds of physical therapy techniques that can help you prevent your back pain while running. You need to consult the physical therapist to heal the running injuries and prevent them accurately.
Invest In The Right Running Footwear
Running with the appropriate footwear is essential to avoid falls and injuries in the first place. You should be at high comfort while running. For deciding the right running equipment, you can visit a running expert or doctor to determine the level of under or over-pronation, stride length, and arch height. Also, when planning a long run, consider applying an ointment or a skin barrier around the toe web spaces, toenails, and heels. Often, the foot injuries or shoe bites impact your running, and you may end up injuring yourself.
Improve Your Running Form
It is crucial to maintaining a correct running form, as it can impact your low back pain, improving which, can reduce your ache to a great extent. Follow these tips while running to have the right form.
- Keep the chest outwards, keeping shoulders back and relaxed.
- Pump your arms forward and backward, and do not cross the body.
- Have a comfortable striking motion from mid-foot to toes.
- Avoid taking larger bounding strides. Take smaller ones to increase the speed.
Running with incorrect form can put immense pressure on the low back and can further, result in joint injuries. It is advisable that you visit a running coach who can guide you in having a correct form.
Do Smart Running
Studies show that over training can cause stress fractures and overuse injuries. Follow these tips to avoid getting running injuries.
- Do not run more than 3-4 times per week.
- Increase speed and distance, one at a time, and not both at the same time.
- Integrate other aspects of training like cross and stamina training into your fitness regimen.
Running is one of the best forms of exercises you can incorporate into your workout schedules. However, it is vital that you take the necessary precautionary measures to get the accurate results for improving your fitness.