Running is a great aerobic exercise, but it can be harsh on the spine. Many runners experience lower back pain, especially after a long run or when they start a new training program. In some cases, this pain can be severe and can stop people from doing the activities they love. However, with the right treatment plan, you can relieve your lower back pain and get back to running.
Usually, back pain associated with running is due to weak muscles or bad biomechanics. Weak core muscles, tight hip flexors or hamstrings and a rigid torso can cause the lower back to take excessive loads. This can lead to muscles or ligaments tearing or straining. Often times, these types of lower back pain will improve in a few days or weeks. If not, you may need to consult a trained medical professional.
In addition to muscle-related pain, there are also bones issues (like arthritis) and discogenic problems (like a herniated disc). Bone-related pain feels like general achy pain throughout the entire lower back area. Discogenic pain, on the other hand, is more specific and feels like pain that shoots down the legs.
Fortunately, you can minimize your back pain from running by strengthening and stretching the muscles around the back. In addition, changing your running form can decrease the stress on your back. For example, shortening your stride can allow the feet to land under your body and absorb the impact of the foot strike.