Of course, back pain is not the only complaint seen in running. It is followed by a long list of lower limb disorders such as Achilles tendinitis, runners knee, ankle and foot pain.
But problems in the back and pelvis very often presents as lower limb pain, as a result of you compensating for the problem when you run.
Poor foot posture and foot function is also a common trigger for injuries to the back, knee and ankle (see below).
Back pain is a condition that has many causes and therefore affects people differently. The trigger can be sitting at a desk for a prolonged time with bad posture, bending the wrong way, asymmetries of the spine and musculature, mechanical dysfunction or a combination of all of the above.
Back pain is often treated with pain medication which carry a real risk, especially if you take it for a period of time.
Sometimes these drugs
do a fantastic job of ‘masking’ pain allowing us to carry on training
regardless of the warning signals arising from our body.
But dealing with pain that way doesn’t makes sense, it would be similar to seeing a red flashing "oil" light on your dashboard and simply sticking a green sticker over the top!
If the underlying problem is still there
and by covering the pain we trick our body into believing the problem
has vanished, when in fact it is very much still present and most likely
Pain is our body's way of telling us to rest or avoid certain movements, so when we cover this up we expose ourselves to the possibility of more harm.
Instead of covering your own oil light up, get yourself checked at the ISIS Chiropractic Centres!
There are many causes of mechanical low back pain; here are a few of the most common causes:
1) Muscular aches and pains. A dull ache, 48-72 hours after strenuous activity is all too common and referred to as DOMs (delayed onset of muscular soreness) this is caused by local inflammation in the muscles. (NB: Sometimes this is mistaken for a muscular problem, when the problem is in fact related to the joints and dysfunction.)
2) Facet joint sprains: Central deep dull or sharp low back pain, which is worse when leaning back. The facet joints often become stiffened and dysfunctional, this can be from a fall or trauma, however more commonly a build up of small injuries over time from activities of daily living. This needs the attention of your chiropractor in order to assess correct treatment protocol.
3) Sacroiliac dysfunction: Deep dull or sharp pain located just outside the centre of the low back, often mistaken for hip pain. This is a common running complaint; the sacroiliac joints are large weight bearing joints that connect the two halves of the pelvis. When we see asymmetries in the lower limb such as a short leg on one side, it is often the sacroiliac joints that take most of the brunt. Again this requires a full biomechanical work up by your chiropractor.
4) "Sciatica": This is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of conditions. Sciatica simply means back pain felt in the leg, thus a herniated, prolapsed or extruded disc could be pushing on a nerve. The sacroiliac joint can refer pain into the leg, bone spurs may irritate the nerve, muscles such as the piriformis can refer pain into the leg, as well as the gluteus medius. This is very common in runners, particularly those with a wide pelvis or crossover gait. This, again, requires the attention of a chiropractor.
Getting rid of the odd ache and pain is part of training and can be done sensibility with ice and rest, however if the same area becomes painful regularly, or if the pain is getting worse, it is time to look at why this is happening!
Biomechanical analysis is a technique in which your chiropractor will assess the function of your whole body, looking for areas that are not functioning, as they should. These areas may be distant from the source of the pain, but often can be the cause.
Poor foot posture and foot function is also a common trigger for injuries to the back, knee and ankle.
Insoles or orthotics are ways of helping correct the foot posture but it is also important to have chiropractic manipulation of the feet to help them move as they should. Otherwise the job is only half-done.
If you run with a flattened arch, this rotates your leg inwards, allowing your pelvis to dip. It will also have a neurological effect on how the muscles work causing inhibition and weakness.
This simple example highlights the depth of
the examination that needs to be completed in order to stop the issue
Our feet absorb 640 tonnes of pressure daily, with 125% of body weight being transferred each time you lift your heel from the floor.
This is multiplied and compounded numerous times when you do road running.
heel strike the forces are transmitted all the way up into the back,
thus if the feet are not functioning as they should, it is often
detrimental to the lower back.
You can read more about foot and ankle problems how to choose the right running shoes here.
If you want help with running shoes we are happy to recommend The Running Shop in Northampton.
Milton Keynes: 01908 307075
Northampton: 01604 460200
Aylesbury: 01296 489231