Why Does My Back Hurt After Running?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Back Pain When Running

Running is a great way to stay in shape and strengthen muscles throughout your body, but it also takes its toll. If you’re like most people, odds are your legs are a little sore after a run, but some people also develop back pain after their run. Today, we take a closer look at why you have spine pain after a run, and what you can do to prevent it.


Overdoing It

One of the most obvious reasons your back hurts after a run is because you’re simply overdoing it. You need to work your way up to longer runs, and you need to do it slowly. Don’t expect to double your distance over the course of a week. Take it slow, and stop if back pain starts to set in.

Core Weakness

Running is very taxing on your core, so if you truly want to become a better runner, you need to mix in some weight lifting and core strengthening exercises. Areas like your hamstrings, glutes and hips all play a pivotal role while running, and ignoring these places can lead to pain in your lumbar spine. Make sure you’re mixing in some weightlifting sessions in between your runs.

Improper Form

Another reason people tend to develop back pain, especially in the upper portion of their spine, is because they aren’t running with correct form. When you’re running, make sure your arms are moving straight back and forth, and keep your head positioned above your shoulders. If you find yourself leaning forward, you’re unknowingly overstressing the muscles in the cervical portion of your spine. We’re more likely to lean forward as we get tired, so evaluate your form as you near the end of your run.


Back problems like muscle strains and spasms can develop if your body is dehydrated, so make sure you carry a water bottle with you during long runs. This is especially true if it’s hot out, because your body loses a lot of water when you sweat. Be sure you hydrate before, during and after your runs.

Foot Strike Problems

Your spine acts as a natural shock absorber, and it absorbs a lot of shock with each running stride. However, studies have shown that it takes on more stress if your run with a heel-strike pattern compared to a forefoot strike pattern. Look at your running style. Do you land on your heel, or on the balls of your feet? If you’re dealing with back pain and have a heel-strike pattern, consider switching foot strike techniques, but remember to take it slow!

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