Is Lower Back or Leg Pain Holding You Back From Running?
Do you have a sedentary desk job or a job that requires standing for long periods? Do you have biomechanical issues like scoliosis or a leg-length difference? Are your running trainers newly fitted or worn out?
These are the sort of questions we’ll ask if you come in for a massage and tell us you are experiencing pain in the lower back, glutes, legs or feet either during or after running.
One cause of lower back pain among runners is piriformis syndrome that occurs when the piriformis muscle (located deep beneath the gluteal muscle group), puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. In order to find relief and reduce pain, decrease running mileage, incorporate trunk strengthening and conditioning exercises on rest days, and stretch associated muscle groups like the hamstrings and external hip rotators.
If a muscle strain has occurred, it is probable that the muscle has been overused or misused. During the initial 24 to 48 hours, you should not apply ice to the injured area, but take muscle pain relief, avoid any strenuous activity, and most importantly – avoid long periods of rest. After a few days, apply heat with light massage, and ease into gentle exercise with the assistance of stretches and movements. Once you’re on the mend, add gentle core stability exercises to your training regime to strengthen the area and prevent further strain. If symptoms increase, it is important to address the problem to a specialist.
Biomechanical problems such as a leg-length difference, high or low arches, over pronating ankles, knocking knees — anything that drives your body to accommodate changes in order to maintain gait and posture, can cause lower back pain for runners.
Running in new or old running trainers could also be the perpetrator. We sometimes believe that trainers are appropriate because they are simply comfortable when we try them on.
Dealing with any of these issues that commonly cause lower back pain among runners can be as basic as an orthotic inner sole, correct running trainers, gait cycle analysis, massage therapy, or strengthening exercises.