Running and Low Back Pain

For many people, running is a great way to stay active and healthy.  But there are many running related injuries that can occur due to a lack of mobility, stability or faulty running mechanics.  

The most common running fault I see as a therapist is someone who runs with increased lumbar lordosis, or curvature, in their low back. 

If you run, it might feel like you’re leading with your chest.  A couple reasons why a runner can adopt this running posture include tightness in their hip flexors and/or low back muscles, poor diaphragmatic breathing, or decreased core strength.  In order for them to run, they arch their back to find stability in their facet joints of their lumbar spine.  Over time, this can lead to increased low back pain.

If you want to be an efficient runner and decrease your risk for injuries, it’s vital to learn how to stretch and strengthen the appropriate muscles.  If you find yourself running with an increased curve in your low back, try stretching your hip flexors and working on some core and hip strengthening exercises before your next run.  This will give you more stability to make you a faster and more efficient runner.

If you experience low back pain when you run and have questions on how a physical therapist can help you achieve your goals, please let us know.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Raymond Shing, PT, DPT