HealthHow Runners Can Prevent Lower Back Pain

How Runners Can Prevent Lower Back Pain


“Pain is preventable. You just have to do the work and seek proper care from pain management experts.” – Dr. Brandon Claflin of Oklahoma, co-founder of a comprehensive spine and pain management clinic.

Running is an excellent way to destress, burn calories, build strong bones, and improve cardio and heart health. I encourage all my patients to run or at least find a cardio exercise that they enjoy, because the benefits are endless. My goal is to help you live your life to the fullest without fearing back pain.  Also, Read More About – Metrogyl 400 Mg Tablet

Dr. Claflin’s Top 3 Tips for Preventing Lower Back Pain

Below are my top 3 tips on how runners can prevent lower back pain. As a spine and pain management medical expert, I work with many runners who want to keep on going — just without the misery of lower back pain. If you want world-class lower back pain support, contact me, Dr. Brandon Claflin in Oklahoma  at the Oklahoma Interventional Pain and Spine clinics.

1. Be intentional about strength training. The stronger your core muscles and joints (your kinetic chain) are, the more likely they will support your spine, taking the load off of an achy back. A strong core also leads to better running posture. When you run with proper posture, your body will feel better. There won’t be extra strain on your lower back, due to slouching or lack of strength to hold your back correctly while moving. 

You don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym to build the necessary strength to prevent lower back pain. Here are two simple Dr. Brandon Claflin-approved exercises you can do in your home: Planks and Mountain Climbers.

Planks: Start on all fours—toes and hands on the floor. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your elbows. You can stay in this position or lower down onto your forearms. Tighten your abs, but do not hunch your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and legs for strength and support. If this is your first time planking, try to hold for 20 seconds and do 3 repetitions. If you can hold longer – go for it—the longer, the better! 

Mountain Climbers: If you need a distraction during your planking, try adding “mountain climbers.” This variation is done by bring one knee to your chest and back out again. Switch legs and do the same knee to chest. Continue to alternate knees until you’re almost in a “running” motion. Crossbody mountain climber is another core strengthening variation that works the entire abdominal region. It’s done by bringing your knee across your chest to the opposite elbow and back again. Alternate your knees, slowly building speed for your comfort level. Mountain climbers are excellent cardio and strength-building exercises for your core, quads, and back.

2. Be mindful of daily back maintenance movements.

It may sound contradictory, but movement, not inactivity, can help lessen your back pain. Proper daily back maintenance stretches and exercises will actually strengthen and support your lower back.  At first, this comes as a surprise to many of my patients, too. Listed below are a few Dr. Claflin of Oklahoma-approved spine and pain management exercises that they, and you, can do daily at home.

Legs up the wall: For this exercise, you’ll need is a bare spot on a wall. Lying down with your back on the floor, move your buttocks close to the wall. Next, rest your legs straight up against the wall. This relaxing pose will gently stretch your hamstrings, back, and neck. Tightness in these areas can lead to lower back pain. While doing this exercise, you will also notice relief in your legs and feet as they’re in the air versus supporting your body weight. Increased blood circulation also elevates venous drainage, relieving tension and stress. Try to do this exercise for 5-15 minutes. 

Supermans: Go on, be your own pain prevention superhero! Lie on your stomach and stretch out your arms in front of you. Lift your chest, arms and legs and let them hover in air as if you’re flying. Lower your chest, arms and legs down to the floor and repeat. Try to do 15-20 repetitions of 5-10 seconds. The superman exercise strengthen the erector spinae muscles and other surrounding muscles to support your spine, promotes good posture and injury prevention. It also improves your mind-muscle connection, which will help with running and all other activities.

Supine twists: Lie down on your back with your arms out in a T shape. Bring your knees to your chest, then gently sway them to one side and turn your head to look in the opposite direction. Hold on the right side for a few minutes, then switch to the left. Since these twists stretch and destress your spine while balancing your sacroiliac joints, pain relief in your lower back, spine, and hips is sure to follow. 

3. Reduce lower back pain when running

The previous exercises are all important for experiencing the joy of running without having lower back pain. Below is a pain prevention plan that you should also follow:

  1. Wear supportive running shoes that properly supports feet, legs, and back. Ensure that they are in good condition, and the supportive features are not worn down. 
  2. Choose weather-appropriate clothes for the day. If it is cold outside, wear a hat, gloves, pants, etc., so that your body won’t get stiff and tense — which can lead to injury.
  3. Warm up and cool down thoroughly, before and after each run. This could include cardio bursts and dynamic stretching before, and static stretching afterward.

If you need more complex spine and pain management support, my comprehensive pain clinic offers a number of therapies and services. They include medial branch block injection, epidural steroid injection, radiofrequency ablation, and more. I’d love to hear your story and see how my team can help.

Please note: if you are experiencing significant lower back pain, always talk to your doctor before trying anything new.

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