tips for runners to avoid back pain


Five tips for runners to avoid back pain

Running has many health benefits, along with sometimes causing occasional aches and pains. Watch this video to get five tips from the pros on what you can do to avoid developing back pain from running. 

Video transcript

Avoiding Running-Related Back Pain

Running is a common activity many people use to keep physically fit and help with cardiovascular health. I'm Dr. Amir Mehbod, spine surgeon with the Twin City Spine Center. While running has many health benefits some people may develop back pain from time to time. Here are five tips to help you avoid developing running related back pain.

Ryan Smith: As with any exercise always perform a proper warm-up and cool down of five to 10 minutes before and after your run. Focus your stretching to achieve adequate flexibility. It is important to focus on the muscles of the calf, the quads, hamstrings, the hip flexors and the gluteal muscles. Hold your stretches for 30 seconds and perform 2 to 3 times per leg.

An important way to prevent low back pain while running is maintaining strength through the core region. Cross training is extremely important on your off days and during those days it is important to focus on the muscles of the abdomen, low back, and hips.

Pay attention to the type of terrain on which you run. A softer surface such as the trail or track will be more forgiving than a rigid surface such as concrete or asphalt. Running on a softer surface such as a track will thus place less stress on your back as you run.

As you increase your runs do not increase by more than 10% a week and avoid changing multiple variables simultaneously, such as increasing the intensity of your run, adding a new shoe, changing terrain, or by increasing by more than that 10% per week. A good way to track these things is by journaling your runs.

Lastly, be sure to change your shoes ever 350 to 500 miles as they wear out. It is important to match your shoe to foot type. A more flexible foot will need more stability from a shoe, whereas a more rigid foot will need more shock absorption capacity. Talk to a qualified running shoe professional or running club for further assistance.

Dr. Amir Mehbod: Thank you, Ryan. Proper running preparation, training, and shoes should help lessen the frequency and the intensity of running related back pains. If your symptoms persist see your doctor.


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