Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Running is a great way to stay in shape, and it also strengthens bodily structures like your calves, thighs and spinal structures. However, not everyone is a trained marathon runner, and we don’t always run with the best techniques. You should run in a way that’s comfortable to you, but certain running styles can increase your risk of a spinal injury. Today, we take a look at four running mistakes you might be making that may increase your risk of a spine injury.
When you’re running, ideally your head will be positioned directly above your shoulders. It can be easy to tilt forward, especially near the end of your run when you’re tired, but doing so puts excessive stress on the cervical portion of your spine. This can contribute to muscle pains or nerve issues in the neck. Keep your head above your shoulders with each stride.
If one side of your body is compensating for a weakness on the other, that side is going to be under extra stress. This unequal distribution of forces can wreck havoc on certain areas of your body, particularly your spine and hips. An uneven gait can contribute to muscle imbalance in the hips, which can lead to sciatica nerve issues or lumbar spine pain if the gait imbalance remains uncorrected for a long period.
Too Much Arm Movement
Over-swinging your arms is another way to stress your back during a run. When your arms twist from side to side, it pulls your shoulder and spine in that direction. Running in a motion where your spine is slightly turning from side to side with each step will overwork muscles and structures compared to a steady spine that’s not experiencing lateral motion with each stride. Focus on keeping your arms swinging straight back and forth when you run.
Heavy Rearfoot Strike
When you run, you’ll have one of three strike patterns; a rearfoot strike, a midfoot strike or a forefoot strike. These describe which part of your foot hits the ground first with each stride. When we get tired, it can be easy to land on our heels instead of the front portion of our feet. When the stress is directed through the heel, it can have implications for your spinal discs. Running with a heavy, plodding rearfoot strike will put more strain on your spine than a lighter forefoot strike technique.