You may not think your lower back has much to do with your running, but it plays a pivotal part in the kinetic chain that powers your running mechanics.
Many people think when they hear the words ‘core muscles’:
‘I must train my abs’
Actually, these are just some of the core muscles needed to get you through a good run, offering protection round your spine, and efficiently transferring energy into propelling you forwards. The aim of any runner should be to minimise energy wastage, as that could be used to get you hitting that new PR (Personal Record).
So what really are ‘Core muscles’?
These are muscles which wrap around your mid-section supporting your spine and lower back. Your core should create one big stability machine with your:-
Weakness in any of the above leaves the others to pick up the slack. For instance, if you glutes and hips are weak, as they fatigue your lower back is forced to overwork, to keep you upright and stable. Leaving you very vulnerable to lower back injury.
What are the common problems runners face with their lower back’s?
The body has a right to more than one injury so be aware you can present with a combination of the below:
- Muscle Spasm
Muscle pain that comes on suddenly. Your muscle may feel like it has ‘locked up’ and the pain can be severe and debilitating
- Shooting pain
Down one or both legs, can be indicative of sciatica or discogenic pain. A trapped nerve can causes this pain, which is sharp in contrast to the muscle-gripping sensation you would feel with a muscle spasm.
Chronic general achiness across the whole area of your lower back can suggest a more degenerative complaint, such as arthritis.
Want to Run Smart? – Back Pain Prevention is better than cure
Encourage good movement between runs to relieve areas of tension.
Lengthen your muscles as running will tighten and shorten them.
Invest in preventative treatment such as Chiropractic or Sports Massage to aid recovery and prevent bad habits building eg adhesions in tissues or dysfunctional joints.
Fuel / Nutrition
Eat foods that will provide you with the best most efficient energy. Food not only fuels your energy but is also vital in the recovery process. Balancing Carbohydrates, good fats etc varies dependant on pre-run, post-run or recovery.
Even if we don’t feel injured it’s important to realise your body is always busy rebuilding and repairing cells. We are constantly causing microtraumas which we don’t feel. Pain is when damage has escalated to a higher level and is the last thing to come and the first to go. Most injuries are due to a malfunction in the biomechanical chain which has been there for a lot longer than you realise. That run which appeared to trigger the pain was ‘the last straw’, not necessarily entirely to blame for the pain you feel.
Our Doctor of Chiropractic, Karen Habershon is going to demonstrate 3 exercises she often gives to her patients suffering from back pain running, in addition to hands-on Chiropractic treatment. She only recommends these exercises to patients she has seen and assessed if they are appropriate. Please only do these if your healthcare professional has advised you too.
This blog post originally appeared on the KH Chiropractic blog here: https://www.khchiropractic.com/back-pain-running/