Low back pain caused by running is a common complaint that I treat in my San Diego chiropractic clinic. Running causes low back pain because of the impact forces that running puts through your low back. That being said, running has many benefits but you must heed the warning signs.
How Running Causes Low Back Pain
Running causes low back pain in patients that either run too much (over 15 miles per week) or run on hard surfaces such as asphalt or concrete. Your chances of developing low back pain because of running are greater if you have had prior low back injuries or if you have any degree of arthritis in the lower back or hips. Of course, there is a percentage of patients in which running causes low back pain simply because their bodies don’t hold up to those activities as well as others do.
While we often treat patients in whom running causes low back pain, treatment is only part of the solution. If you are a runner who is experiencing low back pain that you feel could be caused by running you should evaluate how you are running and what goals you have that you want to accomplish by running. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I run? If you run to improve your level of health, back pain probably isn’t an indicator of better health. If you are training for a long run such as a marathon only you can decide if the painful tradeoff is worthwhile.
- Where do I run? Running on sidewalks, streets or unlevel surfaces could be irritating your joints and causing low back pain. Try to run on grass, a track or in the sand.
- How far do I run? Many studies show that running more than 15 miles per week is more harmful to your joints than it is beneficial for your cardio conditioning.
Many people run for the satisfaction that they feel when they are finished with their run – a satisfaction that they don’t feel after other types of exercise. If you want to run into your later years it would be smart to run less today and get your cardio conditioning from a variety of exercises – including running. There is no question that running causes low back pain – in order to limit the damage to your joints you have to take a balanced approach to your exercise.
Chiropractic treatment for low back pain caused by running includes spinal adjustments and therapies that help reduce inflammation and help muscles, tendons, and ligaments heal.