Lower Back Pain When Running

The problem with lower back pain when running is the fact that as you go further, the pain gets worse and the back tightens up more and more. The repetitive nature of running means that this injury will only get better if you do something about it. Too many runners try and run through everything and hope it gets better but the hope is not a strategy when it comes to lower back pain when running.

Causes of Lower Back When Running

  • Tight psoas
  • Tight hip flexors
  • Weak glutes or glutes that are shut continuously off
  • Poor firing patterns
  • Lack of hip mobility
  • Poor core strength

Tight Hips

Basic anatomy will show you that the psoas is a hip flexor that connects to the lower back. The psoas is the only muscle that crosses from lower body to upper body. If the psoas is shortened, it is going to pull your back forward and increase the curve in your lower back. Being in this position is not optimal for even standing never mind running far or fast.

Psoas and lower back pain running

Weak Glutes

Stand up right now and flex your glutes. Did you notice what it did to your hips? It pushes them forward and puts your spine in its neutral position. The problem with the glutes is that we sit down too much in modern times. Sitting is a huge cause of lower back pain when running. Most of us will sit for breakfast, relax in our cars, sit all day at work and then go for a run. Our glutes get weak because they are in a stretched continuously position all day that turns them off.

Poor Firing Patterns

Posterior chain firing pattern - Lower Back Pain When running

As pictured above, when you use your posterior chain to run or jump there is a firing pattern that should take place.

How the Pattern Should Be 

  1. Glutes
  2. Hamstring
  3. Lower Back

How the Pattern Can Be 

  1. Back
  2. Hamstring
  3. Glutes

The glutes are a big powerful muscle, but they often are underutilized. One of your most important tasks will be focusing on changing this firing pattern so that the glute takes on most of the work and not your lower back. Your lower back was not made to push you forward like your glutes are.

Hip Mobility and Core Strength

If your hips do not have the required mobility, your body will find another way to get it, and that often comprises areas like your back and groin. If you are going to see an improvement in your lower back pain when running, it is going to demand you to improve your core and mobility.

When the hips move well, it means that they can move independently of other areas. A strong core makes sure that your trunk has no wasted motion.  The less useless motion will not just keep you healthy, but it will also help you to run more efficiently.

Get Relief From Your Lower Back When Running

Back to The Basics of Firing Patterns

The goal is to get the correct firing pattern that consists of:

  1. Glutes
  2. Hamstring
  3. Back

To do this lie on the ground facedown. Slowly work to doing the exercise pictured below. The goal is to be able to do the entire thing with the correct firing pattern. If you feel the firing pattern is wrong, then you have to start over. If you don’t start over you, reinforce bad habits. Ice is not enough to fix your back issues.


Steps for Glute Raise

  1. With leg still on the ground flex glute as hard as possible
  2. Once you can do that without engaging the back or hamstring at all move on
  3. Begin lifting thigh off of the ground
  4. Once you can do this with the hamstring activating the second move on
  5. Lift entire thigh off of the ground
  6. Make sure that each time you get the correct firing pattern
  7. Keep working on this until the back activates less

Improve Soft Tissue Quality to Improve Lower Back Pain When Running

The key areas you want to stretch daily are the following:

  • Lats
  • Glutes
  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads

Glute Strength for Lower Back Pain When Running

The glute strength here has two parts. You want your glutes to be stronger now that you have the correct firing patterns. The second thing you need is for your glutes be activated before you do any activity. The two videos below are great for warmups before you run.

Glutes Exercises for Strength 

  1. Glute Bridges
  2. Pull Throughs
  3. Kettlebell Swings

Core Strength for Lower Back Pain When Running

The key to running core strength is to get your limbs to be able to move without your core moving. Your arm motion and your stride should not make your rib cage move at all.

See an Excellent Sports Medicine Provider

The fastest and most efficient way to deal with lower back pain when running is to see a healthcare provider that enjoys working in sports medicine. These healthcare providers will be able to help you locate the cause of your injury and then build a game plan to make sure it stays away. Taking care of your body is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health.

If you know what you are looking for 9INE POINTHealth.com can help you to find the right health care provider at the right time. If you are looking for a healthcare provider with a specific skills set like acupuncture or fascial stretching you can do that. Looking for a healthcare provider but you are not sure which type would be best, we can help guide you.

What If You Can’t Fix Your Lower Back Pain When Running?

Sometimes you can ice all you want, but a muscle is in pain because another area is not working or because it is protecting you. With the hips, for example, your back may be hurting because your psoas is doing too much work and it is also tight. The psoas may be doing too much work because your other hip flexors are not activating correctly. The chain reaction could keep going.

Sometimes you need the help of a sports medicine provider. Sports medicine providers are used to working with athletes that need to get results quickly, to get back on the field. If you are not an athlete, I am sure that you still want quick results.

There are many different options you can go with when looking for a provider. You could get a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist or many other options. The key is finding someone you trust and that you are excited to work with.

How to Find The Best Healthcare Providers for Lower Back Pain When Running

9INE POINT Health is the best place to find the health care providers you need for any injuries. It does not matter where you are hurting; a 9INE POINTHealth provider will be able to get you healthy again. 9INE POINT allows you to find the best local providers and compare them quickly using the 9INE POINT Number.

If you have no idea what you need, but you know you need something, 9INE POINT Health is an injury guide, and you will get helped through the process. We make it easier for you to find the information and the person you are looking for.

Skills to Look for in a Healthcare Provider To Help With Lower Back Pain When Running:

  • Active Release Technique
  • Graston Technique
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Fascial Stretch Therapy
  • Corrective exercises
  • Dry Needling
  • Sports Background
  • Functional Movement Screen
  • And more

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.

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