Low back pain and stiffness is common among runners and is often contributed to mechanical inefficiencies. Here are some tips to prevent low back stress during a long-distance run:
Stretch Those Hips
The hip flexors must be flexible enough to allow hip extension equal to the trunk. Make sure your stretches combine flexion, extension, and abduction for both hips while protecting the lower back.
Wear Proper Footwear
Wearing improper footwear that does not provide sufficient shock absorption is a contributing factor to back pain for runners. It is imperative to look for shoes with good shock absorption.
Pay Attention to Your Arm Swing
Practice a strong forward and back arm swing. Keep in mind an efficient arm swing will create no more than about an inch of trunk rotation in each direction.
Hinge at the Hip
Sustaining forward-trunk momentum is an important component of low back pain prevention. This position allows the hips to extend without putting pressure on the lower back.
A lumbar-extended position is necessary; it helps position the pelvis and hips for optimal form.
Use these tips to ensure you reduce the stress on your back and maximize hip mobility and strength over the course of your long-distance run. For all you runners braving the Broad Street Run or Delaware Marathon over the next couple of weeks, GOOD LUCK from the team at First State Spine!