Help! I have lower back pain, and I'm not sure what's caused it, but it's stopping me from running! This is just one of the most common phrases that therapists like osteos and physios hear from their running patients.
Yet, whereas we think of injuries to our feet, legs, knees, or hips as being 'running injuries', we consider back pain not as a running injury, however much more as a nuisance that just interferes with our running, you may ask, 'so what?', why does that matter? It matters since if you consider your back pain as a running injury, you can adjust your running regularity, duration, strength as well as style to help your back pain recover quicker.
What is the Runners' Lower Back Syndrome?
Runners' Lower Back Syndrome (RLBS) is not a medical term. It is a term that usually tends to be used to group the four most typical causes of lower back pain from running. Despite being different conditions, these back injuries are grouped because they commonly co-occur. Also, the advised self-help treatment covers all four conditions at the same time, and can often bring about the effective remedy for the pain, whichever issue is present. These four conditions are:
1. Facet Joint Irritation: The back is made up of structure blocks called vertebrae. Discs link these vertebrae at the front as well as joints link them at the back. If you have a rather large hollow in your lower back (like a dancer or gymnast) and also have weak stomach muscles, for instance, these joints can become irritated and inflamed, as well as be painful during running.
2. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: The Sacroiliac joints are two joints that sit either side of the lowest component of the back above your buttocks. They're easy to discover, as they lie next to the two knobbly bits of bone in your lower back. When you land harder on one foot than the other while running, extreme pressure can be put one of the sacroiliac joints (very rarely through both joints at the same time) and can irritate the joint and make it inflamed and painful.
3. Weak back: It's a weakness of the lower back muscles leading to a loss of control while running, but it is likewise a weakness in the abdominal muscles. These 2 weaknesses create a global susceptibility in the lower back that indicates that as we tire via a run, the muscles can not control movement, leading to stress on the spinal column, and also pain as a consequence.
4. Myofascial trigger points in the lower back muscles: Weak muscles tend to do two things in response to stress on them. The result is that we establish a moderate to extreme pain while running, that can not appear to be extended out quickly. Either they cramp up entirely, or small pieces of the muscles cramp up, resulting in little knots of very tight muscle which is called trigger points. These two responses tend to occur near the end of crucial races. The result is that we develop a moderate to extreme pain while running, that can't appear to be stretched out quickly.
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Runner's Lower Back Syndrome Symptoms
- Pain in the lower back while running, which comes on during the run, generally after 10-15 mins right into the run.
- Pain that radiates to the buttocks, but not below the knee, and not with tingling or numbness in the legs.
- Pain and inflammation, while running, over or around one of the two knobbly bony bits right at the end of the lower back.
- Pain generally gets worse by leaning backward or sideways, although, with myofascial trigger points, it can provide it tough to put shoes on while sitting.
- Your back usually feels stiff and vulnerable, particularly but not only when running.
- The pain begins for no obvious reason. No apparent injury has happened.
What Triggers the Runner's Lower Back Syndrome?
If you assume you have developed RLBS, it helps to ask yourself some questions:
1. Have I been traveling recently, sleeping in another and not undoubtedly the best type of beds? Typically sleeping in unknown beds can prime us to be vulnerable to lower back discomfort due to the strain that it can put on the tissues of the lower back. This is especially so for runners, that require good assistance of their backs as they recover from the training sessions overnight.
2. Have I significantly increased the intensity, length, or duration of my running, or am I around six weeks into my initial marathon schedule? The most usual time for individuals to feel RLBS has to do with six weeks into training when we are starting to increase the number of runs. Every run will create a little irritation in all joints, which the body then heals and is stronger for it. Yet a rise in training that you are no used to can result in your body just not having the moment to recover the irritability before the next time you run. If this happens a couple of times, you will inevitably start to hurt.
3. Are my running shoes giving enough support or cushioning to my foot, or are they already worn out? It is incredibly vital to obtain the best shoes, as well as to change shoes before they are worn out. The cushioning of the right brand-new running footwear aids reduce the shock of foot effect, reaching the lower back. Of course, it's even better to guarantee you include grass or various other softer surface areas in your training runs, rather than always pounding the tarmac.
4. Have I been attending to my core stamina? The muscles around the trunk provide a safe and secure belt or corset that increases the stability of the lower back under the tension of running, and minimizes vulnerability in the back. The workouts that develop core strength can quickly be learned from Pilates courses or videos, Yoga exercise classes or videos, individual training sessions, or just doing planks.
5. Have I had in the last year or two an injury to my feet, knees, or hips that could have a knock-on effect on my lower back? The leg bone's connected to the thigh bone, which is attached to the lower back in which case a quick visit to a specialist running osteopath or physio can help to reduce or get rid of the damaging effects of these injuries.
6. Have I been running a lot of hills? Many individuals can create stress in their lower back from being unaware of keeping their core strength as they run downhill. Holding your stomach in as you go down the high hills can take a lot of pressure off your lower back.
7. Could I be running asymmetrically because some of my muscles being tighter on one side? Everyone's muscles are tighter on one side compared to the other. So why is it that when we stretch, we invest the same amount of time going, for example, both calf muscles? Inevitably that simply perpetuates the difference in flexibility that is already there? And definitely, that means that we would run asymmetrically, developing potential for all way of running injuries? Balance and symmetry are so crucial to healthy a pain-free running, so when you stretch, try doing the following.
Let's take the calves as an example — a test which calf bone feels tighter by testing a stretch on each side to identify the tighter muscles. Stretch the tighter side for 50% longer than the more flexible one. Do this for every muscle that you stretch regularly.
8. Have I seen a doctor? You must see an expert running osteopath or physio. They will check your muscle balance, your spinal joint and pelvic alignment, and the biomechanical efficiency of your hips, knees, ankles, and feet. The forces of your feet pounding the pavement are moved quickly to the knees, hips, and eventually, the lower back, which is often the last port of call. If there is any type of small imbalance or limitation of activity in your lower back, the forces being moved up to the lower back will be distributed unevenly, causing stress and also pain.
Treatment for Lower Back Pain
- Stretch your hips and buttocks. It may appear weird unless you are a yoga exercise connoisseur, but you can always google poses that are good for the hips. Some of them are Half Lord of the Fishes, Pigeon, Crow, and Gecko poses.
- Try the Child's pose, which is an excellent stretch for the lower back muscles, as well as takes pressure off the joints of the back.
- Stretch your hamstrings, calves, and also hip flexors regularly.
- Try running with a lower back assistance belt for some time. This will work as a 2nd set of muscle mass, enabling yours to heal their stamina and also integrity.
- Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes, as you will need their assistance, and also inevitably, these muscles are weak in joggers.
- Try using some heating pads that can be purchased from large high street drug stores. These will keep you hot for the whole day and will promote blood circulation as well as ease pain.
- Strengthen your upper back with mild rowing workouts, as a strong upper back can take the stress off a weak lower back.
- Try AquaJogging. This is where you put on a buoyancy aid around your waist and run along in the water. It's a great way to train with no impact on the legs, and also really requires you to use and enhance your core muscles.
- Get regular sports massage therapies. A good sports massage therapist will be able to free your back of trigger points, as well as provide your back an all-round muscular workout.
- Lie on your back on the floor with a tennis ball under your back area of most tenderness. Lie with the ball pressing in for about 30 secs before proceeding to the next tender spot.
- Think about buying an 'Inversion Table'. This is a table which you lie on, which gradually tilts you backward until you are upside-down. Because your ankles are strapped in, you will get a good stretch of the spine, basically removing the compression that effect and gravity have had on your spinal column. I use one every day, lovely!