Running is a double-edged sword when it comes to back pain
Running supports the pliability and range of motion of muscles throughout the body; it gets our heart rate up and our circulation flowing; as a weight-bearing exercise, it builds strong bones and strengthens muscles; it is so effective at burning calories and helping people maintain a healthy weight. All of these factors are of primary importance for people concerned with their spinal health. But on the other side of the sword, each stride represents a threat to your spinal health- the shock of a step ripples through the joints in your lower body and is eventually absorbed by the joints in the lower spine. This shock causes strain in the muscles and structures of the lower back, and it is why there is a high coincidence of lower back pain in the running community. So here you are, hopelessly addicted to running, but also concerned about your spine; what are you to do? Read on.
Running and caring for your back can go hand in hand
Here’s how you can keep on running while also prioritizing your spinal health:
- Vary your running surfaces: minimize concrete and choose rubber when possible
- Always wear supportive footwear that helps absorb the shock
- Vary your workout: alternate running with strength-training days that focus on developing strength in the muscles that support your spine.
- Always warm up with jumping jacks or light jogging to get your heart rate up slowly and your muscles warm.
- Always cool down and focus on stretching the hamstrings which can create a pull on the lower spine when tight.
By focusing on minimizing the repetitive stress to your spine, you can keep on running without sacrificing your back in the process. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we are dedicated to the runners of our Sacramento community and have years of experience helping them create individualized plans that incorporate running with spinal care. If you want to get started, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.