Many adults assume that back pain is just a fact of life, especially since growing older is commonly associated with an increasing number of aches and pains. Runners are especially prone to brushing off the pain as normal, but much of your pain is probably preventable. Below are five techniques so that you as a runner can change up your exercise routine and reduce your back pain.
Start with a Warm-Up
Working out on cold muscles can put you at increased risk of injury, so some of your back pain can be minimized by warming up before you start your run. Instead of static stretching, opt for light aerobic activity like a brisk walk or dynamic stretches to warm up the hamstrings, hips flexors, and knees. The added bonus is that by properly warming up your muscles, you cause less strain on your back.
Wear the Proper Shoes
A lot of back pain can be caused by not having the proper support for your feet which puts your spine out of alignment. This can be caused by wearing the wrong shoes or not replacing your shoes frequently enough. Choose comfortable, lightweight running shoes that support your heels and arches (or purchase inserts) and research how frequently your shoes need to be replaced since different brands may have different guidelines.
Try a Different Trail
If your typical run includes outdoors trails with unsteady terrain and steep inclines, you may benefit from changing up your run to something lower impact. Try to find a trail with level ground and gentle inclines or a running track, though the gentlest option for runners would be a treadmill. These options provide more shock absorption which is easier on your joints and can dramatically reduce the impact on your back.
Diversify Your Workouts
If your workouts consist exclusively of running, your back pain can be caused by focusing on only certain parts of your body and ignoring others. To compensate, your back muscles have to strain to keep up the slack. The way to strengthen your back muscles and work more muscle groups is to add more diversity to your workouts, such as adding in weight training or alternative forms of cardio such as kickboxing or dancing.
Get a Massage
Minimizing pain isn’t just relegated to your workouts—recovery is important too. If you are suffering from regular back pain, one option is to get a massage from a licensed massage therapist in order to focus on your pain areas along the back of your body. A professional massage can loosen the tense muscles and release endorphins that keep the relaxation going well after the massage has ended.
If you are suffering from back pain, you have options to get you on course towards a pain-free life. Try incorporating these five techniques into your exercise routine and recovery, and if you still struggle with back pain, call and schedule a consultation with the Orthopedic PRP Doctor to start your journey towards lasting relief.