Running and Low Back Pain
December 18, 2014
Running is a repetitive stress activity. The force that travels from the ground up the lower extremity to the spine can be excessive. Repetitive trauma to the tissues of the lower extremity, the hips and the spine can lead to injury. Some common injuries are shin pain, hip pain and low back pain.
Low back pain can take the form of muscle soreness or spasms, and joint pain in either the back or Pelvic joint. These aches and pains can be treated or prevented with appropriate precautionary measures. However, they can also progress to an injury to the discs of the low back, arthritic joint pain in the spine or referred pain to the lower leg. The discs and facet joints of the spine are important in dissipating the force traveling through the spine. Repetitive trauma can cause problems.
The first line of defense against injury is maintaining flexibility. The most important place to start is the lower leg. Maintaining range of motion in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip rotators/ flexors is very important. If these muscles have good range of motion they are better equipped to handle the stress coming up from the ground.
The second line of defense is the strength of the trunk stabilizers, most people like to refer to this as your core. The most important core muscles are the abdominals, the hip flexors, hip rotators and the gluteals. In order to get these muscles to appropriately stabilize your spine they must be trained in a neutral posture. Research has shown that training the core muscles in the appropriate posture improves your chances of fighting off back pain.