Simple Tips to Relieve Back Pain When Running

Back pain while running, particularly for long distance runners, is quite common. Unfortunately, most of these runners who experience back pain are unaware of some simple skills that they can introduce into their exercise routine to take control.

In this short article, I am going to highlight some key postural change plus stretches and exercises that can improve your running whilst tackling your back pain.

Let’s start with pelvic (deep abdominal muscles) and gluteal (buttock muscles) control techniques. I would say that the majority of people who come into the clinic have never been educated about the position their pelvis should be in. Placing the pelvis into what is known as the neutral position will have an immediate impact on the stability of the spine and hips. It will also improve the overall strength of the glutes (buttock muscles) for acceleration.

This image shows the structure of the hip joint and related muscles

This image shows the structure of the hip joint and related muscles

If you are unaware how to correctly rotate the pelvis, these videos review pelvic control in both daily posture and during exercise. I would recommend trying to consciously place your pelvis in neutral in every position. This includes all daily activities such sitting, standing, walking, running or playing a sport. Initially you will find it difficult but, with repetition,  the brain will begin to recognise that position more as the normal postural position.

Now that you have mastered the pelvis neutral position I would recommend regular stretching. Below is a list of five stretches plus a video that demonstrates how to do them properly. These are not the only stretches you can do but they are great place to start as they target muscle groups that tend to tighten with running and daily activities. These stretches are:

List of stretches:

1) quads
2) hip flexor
3) sitting glutes
4) hamstring
5) oblique

With regards to strengthening,  there are a whole host of things that can be done but let’s keep things simple. With these exercises you will focus on gluteal strength and core stability – two areas that most people struggle with. As your strength improves then you can move onto more difficult strengthening exercises.

1) clams
2) glute kicks
3) glute lifts
4) bridge (3 stages)
5) plank
6) single leg squats
7) windmills

Exercises one to three are demonstrated here:

Exercises four and five can be found here:

If you are suffering with back pain it is always recommended that you seek the advice of a professional. If you have any queries please contact Elite Therapy by email: [email protected] or by phone 02476591600.

Elite Therapy is a multidisciplinary sports therapy and physiotherapy clinic in Coventry. We treat a range of injuries both sporting and non-sporting as well as back, neck and musculoskeletal pain. Elite Therapy’s services include assessment and diagnosis, physiotherapy, sports therapy, massage therapy, taping and ultrasound. There is also an on-site rehabilitation gym, and a studio for Pilates and yoga classes.