Can Running Cause Back Pain?

Last Updated: March 2024

Whether to get fit, take in some fresh air or stave off the boredom of being stuck inside, people all around the country have taken up running over the past year or so. Running is a great way to get out of the house while also staying active and healthy, but some people will no doubt have experienced some amount of pain or discomfort after a long run.


Common Causes of Back Pain After Running

It’s completely normal to feel a variety of aches and pains after running, especially if you’re pushing your body’s limits when it comes to exercise. Persistent and recurring back pain after running, on the other hand, may be a sign of a deeper problem.

Muscle Strain or Spasm

Often, the discomfort experienced after a run is due to muscle strain. This type of pain usually resolves with rest, gentle stretching, and over-the-counter pain relief. Maintaining good posture throughout the day can also mitigate this issue.

Exacerbation of Existing Conditions

Running doesn’t typically cause back pain directly. However, the repetitive impact and stress can aggravate pre-existing conditions, leading to discomfort. Common symptoms that may worsen with running include muscle aches, pain during lifting or bending, and sharp, stabbing pains.

Structural Problems

Persistent and severe back pain might indicate underlying structural issues, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. These conditions require medical evaluation and treatment to manage effectively.

Managing and Preventing Running-Related Back Pain

Immediate Relief

  • Rest: Allow your body to recover by taking a break from running.
  • Gentle Stretching: Engage in low-impact stretching exercises to alleviate muscle tension.
  • Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief.

Long-Term Strategies

  • Cross-Training: Incorporate low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling, into your routine to reduce the strain on your back.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Focus on building core strength to support your spine and improve posture.
  • Proper Footwear: Invest in running shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning.
  • Running Technique: Consult a professional to ensure your running form minimises stress on your back.

When to Seek Professional Help

If running triggers severe or consistent back pain, it’s crucial to consult a professional such as a chiropractor. They can diagnose any underlying issues and recommend a treatment plan. Meanwhile, switching to lower-impact exercises can help prevent further discomfort.

For more information about how to prevent and manage back pain, please feel free to get in touch with Morley Chiropractic Clinic by calling 0113 238 3693 or emailing us at

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