Getting ready for long-distance runs? Like any sport, running can bring on various injuries or pain. Back pain is pretty common with runners. Its solution may be a simple stretch or when the issue is more complex, what’s required is a structural shift. Elijah Rogge of Castro Valley High was surprised by the findings and results of Rolf Structural Integration. Here are my 3 things to try if you’re suffering from back pain.
Read the first part, and don’t miss the end for a Pro Tip.
If you’re suffering from back pain that’s exacerbated by running, here are 3 things you should try.
Stretching. There’s a strange but true relationship between dental hygiene and stretching. I believe that your stretching practice should be like good dental hygiene. Dentists recommend flossing at least once a day. That means that as often as you can, floss after eating. In the same way, get a stretch in after physical exertion, or after long periods of being in one position. Stretching as preventative self-care is the single most important thing we can add into our exercise routines. Stretch at least once a day, especially when you’re training hard. Your hamstrings and quads, your upper legs are the first place that you should go to get low back pain relief.
Pain Management Tools. Right off the bat I’ll express my bias, I’m not a fan of things like foam rolling, massage sticks, electric massage tools, balls, supplements such as CBD, ice, etc. I own them, I use them from time to time, but I don’t find their benefit long lived, and actually to me they take more time than I’m willing to give. Try them out, use them, if they work for you, great. But through personal experience and what other’s tell me the effects are minimal and temporary.
Manual Therapy. Get a massage or a session of bodywork. Manual therapy is one of the oldest and most consistently used forms or recovery and regeneration. If you’re experiencing back pain that hasn’t let up after trying stretching, seek a great manual therapist. There are many forms of manual therapy out there. Swedish massage, deep-tissue, and sports therapy generally focus on addressing muscle tension in the larger muscle groups. Rolf Structural Integration, Feldenkrais, and Hannah Somatics focus on the nervous system to make deep changes in function beyond structural restrictions.
If you’ve tried these different things without relief, don’t worry! Back pain can be complex and with these recommendations you’ve just scratched the surface.
When we’re in pain we tend to focus on where we feel the discomfort. In the case of low back pain, that’s usually the muscles surrounding and connecting the lower spine to the hip. It’s a good start, you’ve considered the “back of your back.”
An area that is often overlooked is the “front of your back,” in particular the psoas muscle.
The psoas is deep to the organs and connects the front of the lumbar spine to the inseam of the leg. In low back pain it’s common that the psoas is tight and too far forward. A healthy psoas should be able to not only come forward as it shortens, but also lay back against the front of the spine to lengthen.
These two movements are often referred to as “Cat Cow.”
Click the link if you think you know what the Cat Cow is or if you haven’t already, you’ll probably be surprised by a new (Gyrotonic) perspective on the cat cow movement. Lots of my own Counter Movement System comes from the deeper origins of movement from the profound movement system Gyrotonic.
P.S. Here’s my online scheduler, click to set up an appointment https://live.vcita.com/site/6qlfz2k53adokmrr