Lower back pain spoiling your running?

There are many positive health benefits to running. We also need to be aware of some aspects that long distance running that can cause imbalances in our bodies, one of which we will talk about today that can cause lower back pain.

The problem
When running a long distance, like City to Bay’s 12km, on a hard road surface we need to wear the appropriate footwear that will absorb some of the impact as our heel strikes the ground. This is good for the joints, as it prevents the jarring.

However, there may be problem with long distance running in this type of footwear.
As they often have an elevated heel they may promote more forward posture leading to the recruitment of the muscles in the front of the thigh, namely the Rectus Femoris, causing them to become short and tight, they then begin pulling at the pelvis creating forward pelvic tilt and then lower back pain.

If you stand up now and imagine your pelvis is like a bowl of water,  tip the water out forwards.
Noticed some discomfort in the lower back?
This is what people with tight hip flexors (rectus femoris) may be feeling all day every day.


The solution

Below are a couple of stretches that, if done regularly, along with a program to strengthen the hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles will reverse this anterior pelvic tilt and rid you of lower back pain.

Swiss ball quad stretch

  • Simply place yourself on the ball as pictured and get into an upright position.
  • If you find you cannot get into an upright position, then you indeed have tight hip flexors!
  • Only go up as far as you can and hold the stretch for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 6 times each side

Hip flexor stretch

This stretch will also target your lower back muscles (quadratus lumborum). Tight quadratus lumborum can add to lower back pain and hip hike, which is sometimes mistakenly identified as having one leg longer than the other.

  • Get into a lunge position as pictured, shifting your hips in a forward, downward motion whilst twisting your torso to grab a post or door frame
  • Hold this stretch for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 6 times each side



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