Many people start running for their health, only to be surprised by the emergence of lower right or lower left back pain a few months in. While running can be an excellent form of exercise, it is important to be aware of how it might affect your body. This way, you can ensure that you can run without injury or discomfort in the future.
If there is any type of discomfort or injury as you run, the repetitive movement can make it worse. Every time you move your legs or arms, you will continue to strain your muscles in exactly the same way. As a result, even a small sprain or tear can quickly grow worse.
Running is a high impact activity. Landing hard on your feet, particularly if your shoes do not have adequate cushioning, can place strain on your body. Your joints and spine can be affected.
This may be as a result of the jarring force on your body. The pressure may also compress your joints or spine. In addition to this, any smaller injuries may become worse as a result of the frequent impact.
Even though your legs are responsible for your movement as you run, your abdominal muscles have to tense as well. If you have weak abdominal or core muscles, they will be unable to provide the support needed.
This means your spine will instead support the weight. The pressure and strain may contribute to various spinal conditions and injuries.
Your back muscles have to work harder to keep you upright as you run. This places strain on your back. If you have even a slight back condition, this can be worsened through the additional strain.
If your back muscles are weak, this prevents them from holding you upright. As with weak abdominal muscles, additional pressure is placed on the spine as you run. Pain will often be felt in the lower back muscles.
This is often linked to having weak back muscles, as your back muscles are responsible for holding your posture as you run. Improper posture places strain on your back as you move, worsened by the force and impact of the run.
If you use one side of your body more than the other, this can cause injuries and strain. An asymmetrical or leaning posture will cause the other side of your body to overcompensate. Back pain, as well as other problems, may result.
If you do not warm up before you run, your muscles can be stretched beyond their point of comfort. They can also pull on other parts of your body as the impact of each stride is felt.
Even if the muscles being affected are not in the back, the resulting strain is often felt in the lower back. As a result, pressure felt throughout the body can present as lower back pain.
Tight hip flexors
The range of motion required by your hips while running can place strain on your hip flexors. This can be felt especially if you have tight hip flexors, a sedentary lifestyle, or do not stretch before running.
As your hip flexors are moved, they should stretch. If they are too tight, the action will pull on your pelvis. This can result in back pain, as well as pain in the hips and thighs.
Irritation of sacroiliac joint
The sacroiliac joints are found near the bottom of your spine, at the “dimples” of the back. They are also known as the SI joints. These joints are placed under pressure as you run, which can result in pain.
This may be a particular problem if you land more heavily on one foot than the other or have an uneven running form. This results in asymmetrical pressure on the joints, and one joint may become inflamed as a result. Lower left or lower right back pain may follow.