How to Treat and Prevent Lower Back Pain for Runners

Poor form, which can be correlated to decreased hip mobility in some cases, can also be one of the root causes of lower back pain in runners. If you suspect this may be your problem, Beversdorf suggests going to see an expert.

"Educating a runner on proper form and, more importantly, teaching them the corrective exercises that influence their form, is the important part," Beversdorf says. "Simply telling someone to change [his or her] posture isn't going to do it for most runners; their current posture position has been trained for long periods of time, and it takes specific corrective techniques to positively improve posture."

He also points out that there's no one-size-fits-all prescription to solving lower back pain. While one person may demonstrate poor flexibility, another might have a muscular imbalance, and another may need simply to focus on form.

More: Improve Your Running Form With Drills

"To appropriately provide a runner with the stretches and strengthening [to help correct the condition], an in-depth assessment must be performed to determine which areas need to be addressed," Beversdorf adds.

In addition to visiting a medical professional with experience in gait analysis, simply backing off of your mileage may help alleviate the problem. The forward lean and increased arm drive required of uphill running can be particularly problematic if you're already experiencing an issue, so skipping hill workouts until the pain subsides often helps speed recovery.

Other solutions your clinician may suggest are orthotics or insoles for your running shoes. For some runners, greater support at the bottom of the kinetic chain can have an effect on the middle of it. Issues that appear to be insignificant, like overpronation, often create poor movement patterns at the hip. Since there are a wide variety of insoles on the market, be sure to consult your doctor about which ones might make a difference for you.

More: Why Overpronation Happens and What You Should Do About It

What's more, simply switching to a different shoe model can also offer positive results for many runners. Everything from arch support to cushioning to heel-to-toe angles can affect the way the body functions over many miles. Take your old shoes into your local running specialty shop and have a shoe expert take a look at the wear pattern and the way you run on a treadmill. He or she can give you advice on the best type of shoe for your biomechanics and training goals.

"With proper assessment, education and training, we can greatly reduce the risk and severity of injury," says Beversdorf. "One of the key concepts that runners need to understand is that running by itself, without all the other key components—corrective exercises, mobility, stability and strength training—is not the most effective way to improve health, wellness and safety."

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