Back pain is unfortunately a common problem amongst runners. In particular, lower back pain due to the repetitive nature of running and the impact that it has on your body. For longer distance runners, this can last for several hours on one run, further exaggerating the pain in your lower back. The good news is, that although you may not think it, it is perfectly possible to run pain free if you have a history back pain. You just have to be clever about it, such as wearing the best running shoes for back pain!
First off, let’s look at the different types of back pain, there are;
Muscle related back pain– repeated heavy lifting or a very sudden uncomfortable movement can cause strain to the muscles in your back or your spinal ligaments.
Bone related back pain– conditions such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and scoliosis can lead to back pain.
Discogenic pain– meaning that one or more intervertebral discs are the source of the pain.
Risk factors for back pain
The main risk factor for back pain is age. As you get older, back pain gets more and more common.
Weight– excess weight will lead to more stress being placed on the back, which will therefore inevitability lead to back pain.
Lifting and posture– improper lifting, such as using your back instead of your legs for heavy lifting can lead to back pain. The same can be said for poor posture.
Exercise– a lack of exercising the back muscles will result in weaker muscles, which will therefore not react as well to the stress they are under, leading to back pain.
Exercises for back pain
There are a number of different exercises that you can do which will strengthen the lower back muscles to alleviate, and potentially prevent, any further back pain. These exercises can also strength your core and leg muscles, which could result in increases in running speeds and distance!
These are our two favourite back exercises which can be done at home, or even at work:
- Seated lower back rotational stretches– this exercise will work both the core and lower back muscles. To perform this exercise, you must sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, and twist at the core both left and right. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds on each side, and do this 5 times on each side. We would recommend doing this exercise every day to keep your core and lower back muscles from getting weak.
- Lower back rotational stretches– this exercise can help to relieve tension in the lower back, as well as strengthening the muscles in your lower back and core area. To start, lie with your back on the floor, bent knees and your feet flat on the ground. Keep your shoulders pinned to the ground and rotate your legs to one side, so that your one knee is touching the floor, with the other on top of it. Hold this position for 10 seconds then switch to the other side. Repeat this 3-5 times on each side every day.
We got these fantastic exercises from MedicalNewsToday, you can check out their article here for 10 great exercises to help with your back problems: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323204.php
Running shoes for back pain
Your back pain can actually be made worse if you don’t wear the correct footwear. If you’re someone that regularly runs, you could be putting your back under intense stress by not running in the best running shoes for back pain. There are three types of running shoes that will help with your back pain whilst running. These are;
Cushioned running shoes– These shoes will absorb the impact force and dissipate this across your feet and body evenly. If you suffer from supination, this means that the feet exhibit an outward movement whilst running. Without cushioned shoes, those who suffer with supination will experience back pain, as the body is left to absorb the force of impact whilst running without any absorption. If you suffer from high arches or supination, you can check out our other article here which details the best running shoes for you!
Stability running shoes– Stability shoes are designed to offer increased levels of support and cushioning. These shoes are best for those who have a normal running stride (no over or under pronation) and those who do not suffer from high arches (cushioned shoes will be best for those who do). For most runners who suffer from more general back pain, stability running shoes will be the best option.
Motion control running shoes– If you suffer from overpronation, you will most likely experience some kind of lower back pain. Same goes for those with flat feet. These shoes will be best for you if you are suffering from these issues. We have an article which contains the best shoes for those who do suffer with flat feet and overpronation here.
With all this in mind, here are our recommended running shoes for those with back pain!
ASICS Gel-Venture 6
ASICS are a top brand for running shoes, making many of the most popular running shoes on the market. The Gel-Venture 6 running shoes are one of their best pairs yet…
These shoes are the very best solution for anyone who suffers from excessive supination or high arches causing back pain.
They have a fantastic cushion designs that will ensure your feet remain comfortably supported and stable as you run. With this kind of cushion you can be sure that these running shoes are absorbing the impact force and could prevent any further back pain.
As well as being well cushioned and supportive for back pain, the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 shoes are well ventilated, keeping the air moving inside them, this helps the feet to breathe and as a result there is no sweating.
Brooks Glycerin 15
As previously mentioned, a major cause of back pain is suffering from high arches. There are many pairs of running shoes specifically designed for those who have high arches. What makes running shoes specific for high arches is their ability to support the arches and keep your feet free from straining. The Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes are designed with this in mind.
The sole of these shoes are very firm so that they can provide you with enough support and cushioning to prevent your back from any further pain.
They also have a soft, breathable lining which will help the feet to get the right level of air circulation which will reduce sweating, leading to less blisters and a more comfortable run.
A breathable shoe is vital for all runners to remain comfortable throughout the entire run. Furthermore, the shoes have a very well cushioned insole which is responsible for support and comfort.
The ASICS GT-2000 is a great running shoe for flat feet, which is another major cause of back pain in runners. They offer a wider forefoot that helps with the typically wider flat foot, which provides you with greater levels of support and comfort. The centre of the shoe offers greater stability and support thanks to ASICS’s superior build quality.
They have also put special gels inside the soles of the shoe which further increases shock absorption and will spread the impact force across the body, resulting in less stress placed on the lower back.
These running shoes come in a wide array of colours and are available for both men and women!
Mizuno Inspire 13
These shoes are perfect when it comes to cushioning, durability and being extremely lightweight.
The Mizuno Inspire 13s have:
- improved mesh which increases breathability and flexibility
- Blown rubber in the forefoot which provides durability and softness
- A wider toe box which allows for more room for your toes
- A bigger heel, allowing for greater levels of control
These shoes are great for runners who are after high stability and performance because of all the features packed in to them. Wherever you are running, you will feel comfortable and ready to run an extra mile (or 26.2)!
Hopefully this article has helped you find the perfect running shoes for you to get you back out there enjoying your running! Please keep in mind that if you are suffering with back pain it is always best to seek medical advice first before putting yourself at further risk of injury by running. Whilst the right running shoes can help to prevent back pain, seeking professional medical advice is advised!