Everyone wants to keep in shape. Once you start working out it can actually become addicting. I have many patients that come to see me after they have injured themselves. Their first question: Doc, when can i work out? When Can I start running again? For some people every time they go running, they have lower back pain either during or after the run. Should they quit running, find an alternative sport, or simply stop all activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle?
If you love the benefits of running and want to continue, is there anything you can do to make running tolerable? First, NEVER stop doing activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle – it will start a slow decline with an unhappy ending! So let’s see if we can make running work for you!
- STRETCH: In general, stretching helps “warm up” your muscles and joints and can prevent the low back from hurting during or after your run. In past newsletters, we’ve reviewed simple stretches that can be done from a sitting position (when you’re in a hurry), as well as others. Yoga based exercises are also excellent!
- FOOT STRIKE: The “proper” gait or, method your feet hit the ground is very important! To avoid low back injuries (not to mention foot, ankle, knee or hip injuries), run SMOOTHLY so the heel strike is gliding/glancing vs. a hard vertical load. The foot then “ROLLS” from heel to toe, first on the outside of the foot and then shifts to the inside during which time the arch flattens out, getting ready to “spring” you forward. The heel then lifts up and you push off the ball of the foot and big toe.
- RUNNING POSTURE: Lean forwards when you run – DON’T run vertically like a Po-Go stick! By doing this, your momentum will be to move forwards – NOT downwards into the pavement (like a “jack hammer”)!
- CORE STRENGTHENING: By keeping your “core” (midsection) strong, your back is more supported and less likely to become injured. Core exercises include pelvic tilts, the “dead-bug”, bridges, prone swimmers, lunges, squats, sit-ups, arch-ups, side bridges, 4-point kneeling/opposite arm/leg, and many others. These can be done on the floor and/or with a gym ball. Balance exercises are also very important!
- RELAX: Have you ever noticed when some people run, they just look “tight” and uncomfortable. RELAX – don’t shrug your shoulders up to your ears; let your arms hang down bent at your sides; don’t clench your teeth or make a fist – RELAX!!!
- PADDED INSOLES: There are many brands of padded insoles – try some and see how they work for you.
- RUNNING SHOES: The key here is TRY THEM ON and walk around inside the store. There are a lot of good supportive shoes so just find a brand that works for you!
- FLAT FEET: This is common and NOT a reason to stop running. Ask us about foot orthotics and the function and importance of the arches.
Source: Dr.Bellingers October 2010 Newsletter
Additional Reading Resources
- Getting Proper Rest...Another Key Element To Staying Healthy And Pain Free!
- What are the Best Exercises if you have a herniated disc?
- Lumbar Inversion Traction
- How Can High Heels Sometimes Cause Back Discomfort!
- A complete, 76 page, jogging and running guide for beginners. Everything you ever need to start jogging or running.
The Glastonbury Chiropractor is located in central Connecticut- CT Spine and Disc Center specializes in patients who suffer from sciatica, disc degeneration, bulging disc or herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Call our chiropractic office at 860-633-8756 to schedule an appointment and to see if you are a candidate for non surgical spinal decompression