Back hurts during running? The reason you’ve never heard of

If your back hurts during running and you haven't been able to get rid of it, this might give you a different perspective on it.  There are several different reasons for back pain in runners but I'm going to focus on a reason that you probably haven't thought of yet - your pelvic floor.  Before you question why your pelvic floor has anything to do with your back pain, here is a fun fact:

  • The most common running injury is knee pain, comprising 40% of all running injuries
  • In women runners that were postpartum (after baby 1+ years), only 9% of their running injuries was knee pain.  73% of their running injuries was low back and hip pain.

Intrigued yet?  I know I was when I saw those statistics!  I also sat in on a research talk about postpartum runners and their findings showed a significant difference in their form before and after pregnancy on slow motion video analysis.  They found that there was excessive movement throughout the pelvic region and lumbar spine in the postpartum runners compared to runners before pregnancy.  This is a big contributor to why your back hurts during running and after running.

As I've talked about in the past, the core muscles stop working properly after pregnancy and must be retrained.  This is definitely a contributing factor for low back pain since the major core muscle, your transversus abdominis (TA) isn't providing adequate support.  It also explains why there is more movement throughout the pelvic region on video analysis.  However, the major factor that is often overlooked is your pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic floor undergoes a lot of trauma during pregnancy and childbirth and can get overstretched, overworked, and possibly get scar tissue build up.  We often think of doing physical therapy after a knee injury but most women don't think about physical therapy after baby.  This unfortunately allows the injury to the pelvic floor muscles to go unseen and they don't typically recover spontaneously.  Maybe you have some other issues such as incontinence or urine leakage, painful intercourse, or "heaviness" in the pelvic floor region.  These are all indicators of pelvic floor dysfunction (but not inclusive either).

The pelvic floor muscles create the entire "floor" of the torso, holding up all of the organs and moderating abdominal pressure.  They connect onto the pelvis, tailbone and bottom of the spine and can pull on any of these structures.  The pelvic floor muscles are directly connected to the function of the core and spine and are a main stabilizer for the trunk.  If they are not working properly, you will not have the stability and support that is needed during running.  Over time that can lead to back pain during running or possibly hip pain during running.

If your back hurts during running and is limiting your ability to run, contact us to take advantage of our FREE 30 minute consultation in order to discuss this further.  It's time you take a different approach and resolve the issue completely so you can run however long you want to!

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