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Advice on back pain, anyone?

Ok. I run yesterday, this time close to my house. I didn't feel like driving to the Community Center. It was dark already.

I managed ~1.25 miles again...I can't seem to go past this point yet. I should really go back to a schedule (not skipping so many days). About half-way in the run, I stopped to catch my breath for a minute...I almost threw up near a fence. Hehe! But I felt better soon and started running.

Now here's my dilemma: when I run, I feel great! Afterwards, 24/7 I have this constant back pain. I feel it all the time, when I sit for 8 hours at work, when I drive but mostly when I am in bed (shouldn't I feel comfortable at least then?). No matter how I toss and turn, my lower back seems to have a mind of its own. Is this something normal?

Hi Kris:

Sometimes the worst thing we can do to our backs isn't the physical activity (that's actually good), it's the posture we're in AFTER a workout. When we warm up our stability muscles through exercise, and then they cool down post-workout in a slouched posture, recliner chair, or something similar, then it's in a position of less stability that's prone to causing other symptoms such as pain. You may consider rolling up a towel into a tube and placing it under your low back and under your neck after a run (while lying down on them)...so that you cool down with the curves of your spine molded into a good, stabilized position. In addition to towel rolls, pool noodles (those firm styrofoam things that float) that are cut to be the width of your back, are also good stabilizers for spinal molding!

I've had a buttload of back trouble, and I find the best thing is 2 fold:

#1, cardio. Stay consistent with it. Keeping the blood moving and staying loose is good. Which leads me to #2-

#2, stretch the hamstrings. They are interconnected to the back, and the looser they stay, the looser the back stays (there's more to it than that, but that's enough to keep you feeling good, so who cares exactly how it works).

The posture stuff is important as well, but as a herniated disc survivor, I've found nothing that helped me more than these 2 principles.

I haven't had back trouble, but I've heard it's related to ab strength. I spend as much time working on those as I do running:)

Great advice so far. I'd throw in some ice & heat treatment right after your run, as you lie on your back. Runner's World has some great lower back stretches designed to stop the specific problem you're talking about. Just go to RunnersWorld.com and search "back in action." I used to have some minor lower back pain the morning after an evening run. I did some core work and the pain was gone in a matter of days.

Good luck!

As a runner with 3 herniated discs, I "feel your pain". The key is strengthening your core. Yoga is great for that. Same with pilates. You might also look into having your gait analyzed. We have a place here that will video tape you running & show you where your form might be incorrect, which can cause pain. Also, try running with your hands on top of your head. It sounds funny, but you'll be amazed at how easily that will show you how much your form is off.

After a run, be sure to stretch. It'll also help to ice your back & other muscles. Whenever I got into longer distances, I always took an ice bath afterwards (in the winter I'd wear a sweater in the tub to keep my top 1/2 somewhat warm). You also want to make sure you keep moving throughout the day.

If the pain continues &/or gets worse, have it checked out by a doctor just to make sure it's nothing serious.

Good luck! :)

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