Variety – Key to Back Pain Relief For Runners

back pain runner

The rhythmic thumping of sneakers on the pavement is a call that some athletes cannot shy away from. Almost anyone can run and many do, for sport, leisure or mandatory exercise. While the solidarity of the open road is enticing, almost meditative to some people, the stress and pressure placed on the joints can often lead to painful circumstances.


Running is a high impact, endurance sport. Every slap of the pavement beneath your feet causes jarring, pounding and pressure in your joints. These forces radiate, from the initial impact of our feet on the ground to the swing of our arms at the shoulders. A common complaint among many runners is low back pain. Resulting mostly from overuse, or poor preparation, lower back injuries can be treated effectively and preventative measures can ensure there is no re-occurrence.

For some, finding back pain relief is as simple as popping a couple of Tylenol. While this practice should not be used long term, to mask painful symptoms, it is a temporary solution to reduce pain and inflammation. Topical medications and back supports are also used to regain mobility and return to a regular routine.  Without proper evaluation and treatment, however, back pain can often compound into a chronic issue.

Jack is in his thirties and has been running since he was on the high school cross country team. While he never had much issue in his teen years, Jack has developed nagging lower back pain that has caused him to start dreading his morning 5 miles. When the pain first began to bother him, he chalked it up to the perils of getting older, loaded up on a few over-the-counter pain relievers and headed out to run his usual route.

Over time, he grew more and more concerned as his back pain began to cut his runs short and follow him throughout his day at the office. Looking back pain relief, Jack sought the advice of his primary care physician, who recommended a very common solution to help resolve his problematic situation.

When Jack ran on the cross country team, he was in some of the best shape of his life. Often, cross country running involves a variety of surfaces and inclines to further enhance the challenge of the course. Ultimately though, this varied terrain was keeping Jack’s back, hips and knees in optimal running condition. By running on different types of surfaces, he was utilizing different muscle groups, strengthening his core and giving his legs the workout of a lifetime.

Later, when he began running on his own, he stuck to the paved roads of his suburban neighborhood and eliminated the variety that was keeping him in tip-top shape. Without surfaces like dirt, sand or even steep hills, his core muscles weakened and his muscle groups grew out of balance. With a heavy tug or strain in one particular direction, without proper counter balance, he was putting enormous strain on his lower back muscles.

By running on different types of surfaces, back pain relief can be achieved quite simply. While this may not remedy all issues, it is what worked best for Jack’s particular situation. In addition to natural ways of relieving the back pain associated with back muscle strain, this practice can improve your overall endurance and performance.

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