| Low Back Pain
Lower back pain can be tricky. There are, however, a few things that can contribute to tightness and pain in your lower back that are easily addressable. The first is a weak core or poor posture that fails to stabilize the spine while running which can lead to excess upper body rotation. Posture drills and core work can go a long way to help reduce this source of low back pain.
Muscle tightness in areas above and below the lower back can create joint compression because of how the muscles are anchored to the spine and hip girdle. Tight hips and hamstrings are often notorious culprits. Opening up your hip flexors with a Couch Stretch, or loosening your hamstrings can help reduce back pain by focusing on those muscles that yank on hips, reducing unnecessary lower back flexing. Upper back tightness can also contribute.
For a more general discussion about causes and solutions to back injuries, see our YouTube video Heal A Running Related Back Injury
Prescription: 3-4 minutes total. After workout or during dedicated mobility session.
This is a great exercise after a long day or when your low back is tight. Having a stiff low back can really affect how you run, so keep it loose!
Elevate your feet and dig in. You could also put the ball on a pillow to add a little support.
Prescription: 2-3 minutes each side. Can be done before or after workout.
Execution: Begin by placing knee in the corner of the box/wall. Next, drive hips forward by squeezing glutes (you may already feel it!). To increase stretch, bring foot up to floor into lunge position. And finally, continue to squeeze glutes and lift hands off ground and drive chest back towards box/wall.
This is one of our absolute favorite stretches for tight quads, hip flexors, and early stages of knee pain. The Couch Stretch can also be done in the corner of the wall.
Prescription: 2-3 minutes each leg. Best done after a workout or during a dedicated mobility session.
Execution: Place your hamstrings on a LAX ball on a firm, elevated surface. The hamstrings run from the bottom of your booty to behind your knee, so there’s plenty of real estate! Find a tender spot, sit up tall, and flex and extend your knee to massage tissues over the ball.
Foam rollers really don’t get into your hamstrings very well. This exercise allows you to truly dig into the tissues on your hamstrings!
Prescription: 2-3 minutes. Best done after a workout or during dedicated mobility session.
This is an alternative approach to using a foam rolling. Remember, you’re curling over the foam roller, not just rolling on it. Work your way from top to bottom, getting 3-5 curls at each stop.
Prescription: Alternate sides for 2 -3 minutes
While we’ve worked with numerous licensed physical therapists to create content, we are not doctors, nor do we claim to be doctors. These exercises are ones we’ve used on ourselves and our clients throughout the years and have selected our favorite, most effective tools to get the job done! If you’re concerned with any exercises, please reach out to your local physical therapist for further guidance!