Back pain in runners – a widespread disease

Back pain in runners - a widespread disease

Targeted exercises help with most types of back pain.

© iStockphioto
Targeted exercises help with most types of back pain.

The typical picture: You get out of bed in the morning and already when you sit down there is a pull in your lower back (LWS-Syndrom). If you move, things get better. But woe betide you sit comfortably on the sofa for half an hour, then it starts again when you get up. Or: You are running a competition at the limit. Immediately after crossing the finish line they are there: dull pain just above the tailbone and sacrum that feel like a strong one Muscle tension feel. But not only lower back pain counts as back pain, but also Neck and shoulder painwhich is a common cause of a headache are. Read here how you can treat such acute pain yourself and how you can prevent it.

Most back pain is annoying but harmless

According to the sports medicine specialists Beck and Kasten (University Clinic Dresden), around 90 percent of Western European residents have already experienced back pain. But the first good news is: In 98 percent of cases there is a harmless cause and the symptoms subside within a few weeks, even without treatment. The second good news for us runners: Exercise is an effective prevention – sport prevents Disc disease and tension.

The trunk, made up of the back and abdomen, forms the center of the human body and consists of a multitude of bones and muscles. When Link between the upper and lower extremities our back is exposed to high stress every day. In interaction with the abdominal muscles, the back ensures the straightening and stability of our entire body.

Back pain – the symptoms

Back pain usually manifests itself in a wide variety of ways. You can express yourself dull, pulling, stabbing, breath-dependent or breath-independent. When it comes to back pain, it is important to distinguish between different forms:

  • Back pain in the lower area (lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint)
  • Middle back pain (thoracic spine or ribs)
  • Back pain in the upper area (Cervical spine, Head joints)

In the event of persistent or worsening complaints, radiating pain (especially in the extremities) and failure or paralysis, you should definitely consult an orthopedic surgeon and / or physiotherapist.

What are the causes of back pain?

The cause of back pain is usually not the back itself. First of all, you should look for possible changes in the past few days. Often the cause is a minimal change in one’s own habits. Moving the computer screen, changing the sitting posture at work, a new pillow, a new exercise in training, new shoes, unfamiliar running surface, etc. Running itself is almost never the cause Georg Supp, physiotherapist at the Freiburg Physiotherapy and Running Therapy Center PULZ knows: “In the context of back pain, there are no useful scientific studies on this. When a runner comes to us with back pain, we first look for triggering or sustaining factors in everyday life. Sitting crooked for eight hours a day puts more stress on your back than running for an hour three times a week. ”

If none of the above applies, any change in the body from head to toe can cause back pain.

Some possible causes are:

It is important to note that the term “blockage” or “blockage” is misleading because it does not actually lead to a blockage, but only to irritate the movement of a joint. If you’ve been “locked in” or “manipulated” by a chiropractor, that’s after that muscular stabilization of the treated joint is important, to avoid further restriction of movement.

How do you deal with back pain while running?

Should you pause or continue immediately? Georg Supp gives the rule of thumb: “If the pain persists hours after the training session, the runner has to reduce the volume and intensity significantly. If the reduced training still leads to persistent deterioration, the person affected must pause. If the runner feels pain during training, but it disappears immediately after the session has ended, he can continue training that way. ”

A absolute training break is only very rarely necessary, thinks supp. “Total relief often does more harm than good. The resilience of all structures decreases when not in use. The risk of injury is then significantly increased when you resume training. The person affected should discuss the best way to organize training in the event of an injury or back pain with an experienced physiotherapist or sports doctor. ”

Even if the intervertebral disc has been severely damaged and an incident has occurred, that in no way means the end of a runner’s career. “Slipped discs have nothing to do with running. If a runner has an acute incident, it is very frustrating, but the prognosis is good. Active people are not immune to serious back problems, but they get fit faster than couch potatoes. If there is no acute paralysis, the person affected can quickly start again with light running training. The strict bans of many medical professionals are based more on bias than facts. Running is often possible earlier than cycling. When running, the back is in an upright position and the joints of the lower extremities act as shock absorbers, ”explains Supp.

How can back pain be treated?

Basically, you should try to continue to move as well as possible AND as normally as possible in order to avoid a gentle posture and the emergence of evasive mechanisms. These would possibly lead to further physical problems. In the case of radiating pain and symptoms of paralysis, a doctor should be consulted directly to rule out a herniated disc.

Pain caused by muscle tension can often be relieved with heat, e.g. B. in the form of a cherry stone pillow that is quickly heated in the oven. If you have the opportunity to be pampered by another person, you can rely on the Hot role To fall back on. Pain medication such as Ibuprophen, Paracetamol, Dolormin, Aspirin, etc. can reduce back pain and a relieving posture, but usually do not eliminate the actual cause.

Which exercises help with back pain?

Try to keep your body moving as much as possible when you have back pain. Start with simple exercises:

It is interesting to know that not only exercises for the core, but also exercises for the leg muscles help against back pain. There is additional knowledge here.

If you have recurring back pain, it makes sense to purchase one Gymnastic ballsthat you can sit on in the office or from home. Your hip joints are then not so cramped and immobile at the end of the working day and the gluteal muscles are generally more active than when sitting on a desk chair. If you want to use the time while brushing your teeth for stabilization exercises, you can do one Airex pillows in the bathroom next to the sink. And in front of the TV in the evening after work Gymnastic bands and Minibands meaningful exercise companion.

What is the best way to train after a back operation?

Again Return to running training should be clarified individually. “For training after intervertebral disc operations no blanket advice possible ”, explains Supp. “The surgeons’ follow-up treatment schemes are worlds apart, even though many operations are identical. Some surgeons prohibit everything in the first three months, others do not impose any restrictions.

These runners should listen to their bodies and remember that healing takes time. In the case of a simple intervertebral disc operation with uncomplicated healing, an experienced runner can take the first steps again after four weeks. But as already said, there are the most contradicting statements among the surgeons.

How can you prevent back pain?

The best medicine for a healthy back is getting enough exercise, an upright one posture, adequate sleep, and little to no stress.

Design your workplace so that you can sit upright and comfortably can. The backrest should reach up to the shoulder blades; support in the lumbar spine prevents excessive flexion.

A regular general strengthening program for the core muscles is essential for prevention, especially for runners. This is not only used for prevention, but can also be a Economization of the entire running movement and thus lead to a faster runtime. Exercises that you can include in your athletic program to help prevent back pain

In addition, good elasticity of the muscles plays a major role, because poorly stretched thigh muscles, restricted mobility in the ankle or poor mobility of the thoracic spine can cause back pain. See possible stretching exercises for runners here.


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