Shop MONQ’s <span>best selling</span> AROMATHERAPY BLENDS


shop now
discovering if running on pavement can cause back pain|running on pavement|person tieing tennis shoe

Health & Wellness

Can Running on Pavement Cause Back Pain?

Running is one of the most misunderstood sports. Those who enjoy running claim that it is a cure-all and that it is perfect for stress relief, weight loss, cardiovascular fitness and more. Those who are less supportive of running, however, are quick to point out that running can be bad for your knees and to ponder the link between running and back pain.

So who is right? Well, as you might expect, it's complicated. Running is good for you if it's done properly, with the right shoes, and with a sensible training plan. Run on the wrong surfaces, however, or in old or ill-fitting shoes, and you will quickly find that you end up with shin splints or other pain. One common issue that runners experience is facet syndrome. 1

running on pavement

Running and Back Pain

For some people, running is a lot of fun, and it is tempting for new runners to push themselves and to try to go further, run faster, or stay out on the road for longer. You might think this is a good thing, after all, exercise is often recommended for back pain. 2 However, if you are running with poor form or compensating for an existing injury through how you move, then running could be making your back pain worse.

If you experience unpleasant symptoms during or after a run, such as:

- Severely aching muscles

- Stabbing pains

- Pain if you try to lift heavy objects

- Pain when you bend over

Then you should try resting for a few days. If rest does not relieve the symptoms, then you may want to see a doctor. They will be able to tell you whether your back pain is caused by a herniated disc, poor posture, muscle strain, or some other issue.

Coping With Back Pain

Your spine is a key part of your body, and it is affected by how you move in day to day life. The health of your lower back is greatly influenced by your pelvis. The sacroiliac joints should move smoothly and freely if you have a good running gait, but if you have poor posture, are tight or inflexible, or are wearing ill-fitting shoes then they may not move so well and this can lead to strain on the lower back. 3

If you are experiencing back spasms or pain, you should stop running. Rest, and use anti-inflammatory painkillers to reduce the pain. When the pain has lessened slightly, consider using gentle stretches to loosen the area, and work on strengthening your core, hips, hamstrings, and glutes. Making sure that these muscles are strong will help to reduce the ongoing strain on your lower back.

Some people find that foam rolling their back can help to reduce pain because this works like a deep-tissue massage and loosens up the muscles that are putting pressure on the spine. If you are lucky enough to be able to get proper massages with essential oils, then that can be an even better option.

Pain is often linked to inflammation, and you can reduce inflammation with essential oils . It won't cure your back pain but it will help to reduce inflammation, allowing better circulation. Using essential oils for relaxation can help to promote healing and support better posture too.

person tieing tennis shoe

Focus on the Fundamentals

Running is something that is a part of PE at school, and it's something that everyone, even non-athletes, will do at some point, even if it's just "jogging for the bus". This is both a blessing and a curse for the sport. Running is accessible. All you need is a pair of shoes and a safe route around your local area. This means that people will go running without learning the best way to do it to protect their shins, knees, and back.

While it is fair to say that most of us grow up with a fairly intuitive understanding of how to run, modern life takes that away from us. If we wear the wrong shoes or restrictive clothing, that will change how we move. If we are carrying heavy bags, that will also make it harder for us to run properly. Living a sedentary lifestyle for a long time can cause muscle imbalances, and running while even slightly overweight can put strain on the lower back and your knees as well. It is good to exercise, however, it is important to ease into a new exercise regimen, and to learn the movements that you are doing properly so that you can train without doing damage to your body. Never ignore back pain, and never try to work through it. You only get one spine, so look after it!

Photo credits: Mooshny/, TBstudio/, FOTOKITA/, lzf/

Related post