How to Help with Back Pain

heat_0Pain in runners’ bodies is usually tied to the leg (knee, hip, IT band), but often runners incur back pain at some point. With spending time in front of computers, slouched over the steering wheel, and lazily sitting on the couch watching television, most of us have developed improper posture over the years. When we run, we take that bad posture into our exercise. Thus comes the back pain. Here are a few remedies I discovered to help combat the inevitable back aches after a long run:

1. With an office job, you sit for hours in one particular position hunched over a computer. Bring in a towel or a small pillow and place it behind you. Also, try to keep your feet flat on the floor to stay in the most upright position possible.

2. Extra core work. One of the best ways to work your core is by incorporating a stability ball into your workout routine. This requires you to engage your core simply for balance alone. I like to do as much weight lifting while on it as possible because it works multiple muscles groups at once–you get more out of a gym session. Also, I like to do my standard crunches on it (much tougher than lying on a floor).

3. Not resting too much with back pain. If you are suffering from simple back aches, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Surprised? I was. Turns out, not moving can make back pain worse. The best thing to do is a non-weight baring exercise, such as swimming.

4. Tailored stretching. I’m used to stretching my legs after a long run, but I’ve tried to incorporate more back stretches. I lie on my stomach and raise my legs and arms straight into the air. This engages my back and core. I hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat five times. It’s a body part I didn’t pay attention to until recently and noticed a difference.