How Runners Can Minimize Back Pain

Minimize Back Pain While Running

Running can place added stress on your back that sometimes results in some degree of pain. If you have existing back problems, jogging or running can make it worse, or result in related leg pain if the sciatic nerve is affected. By taking some preventative steps, as recommended by spine surgeons in Santa Monica such pain can often be minimized, managed, or avoided.

Do a Proper Warm-Up

Warming up muscles can minimize aches and pains stemming from the repetitive motions associated with running or jogging. A proper warm-up for a run typically includes:

  • Hamstring stretches to minimize lower back pain
  • Strides, or “pick ups,” to flood the muscles with blood
  • Walking that builds up to a steady jog
  • Static stretches, where muscles are held in an elongated, fixed position

Muscle Toning and Stretching

Workouts between runs should include toning and stretching exercises to maintain the stability of the core muscles that support the back. Cross training can help eliminate overuse syndrome that sometimes occurs when you’re working the same muscle groups on a regular basis.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Choose running shoes that offer the right amount of support for your unique arch. The heel should have a snug fit, but not a tight fit though. “Hot spots,” such as points of added pressure on your feet when shoes are laced, can be avoided by either loosening the laces slightly or tying shoes differently. Feet swell and lengthen while running, so there should be at least an extra thumb’s worth of space between the shoe and the big toe to allow for this expansion.

Run on Forgiving Surfaces

Avoid running on hard, uphill, or uneven surfaces when possible. Instead, opt for a rubber track or a smooth, paved surface to minimize foot pressure that could flow along muscles to the lower back.

The back pain often experienced by runners can take many forms, from temporary discomfort and muscle strain to structural damage involving discs and individual vertebra. Relief can include a little rest, the application of heat or cold therapy, or over-the-counter pain relievers. Any pain that lingers for more than a day or two or becomes progressively worse should be evaluated by a qualified back doctor.

If you’re experiencing unmitigated back pain that’s affecting everyday life, it may be time to speak with an experienced minimally invasive spine surgeon in Santa Monica about your options for pain relief. Call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation. Your path to a pain-free life begins here.