Sore lower back

Hi - I started on the beginners programme about 3 months ago - I am now totally addicted to running and can run for 6 miles.

 I noticed a couple of weeks ago (after I started doing 5 miles and longer) that when I wake up in bed in the morning that my lower back is really sore.  It's only in the mornings, and it doesn't hurt to walk or run.

 I presume this is something to do with the running (I have found that since I started running for longer that more of my run is on roads rather than trails), as I haven't changed my bed or sleeping postion - yet it doesn't seem to improve on the days that I don't run?

Has anyone experienced anything similar/have any advice?


  • mmm... a lot of the qualified podiatrists on here will say that many problems 'higher up' e.g. knees, hips, lower back,... originate from mechanical problems with your feet/gait.

    My problems didn't start until I started runs over 8 miles...

  • Start stretching your hamstrings more.
    Tight hamstrings usually mean sore lower back.

     Also stretch your lower back if you can - Sit on the floor, cross one leg over the other (keep the other straight) and twist in the direction of your crossed leg.

    Works wonders. 

  • Hi - will try the stretching

    its just weird because it doesn't hurt at all when running only after I have been lying in bed at night (just don't want to think that running is causing it!)

  • I also get this so its great to finally understand what it could be ~ can be a bit rubbish with stretching so will definately get into a routine of doing this after a run.
  • Tight calves and hamstrings can in turn be cause by a rear foot problem, so unless you're sure you've got the right shoes for your gait it might be worth checking.  And treat yourself to a sports massage session. image
  • Have found most of the aches and pains generated through running have been sorted by swimming (breaststoke) once or twice a week - it's a good gentle workout on days you don't want to run and works wonders on achey mornings after a long run/race.
  • Hi, hope you don't mind me jumping in on this thread. Im new to forums and previously conversed on 'another newbie' thread. I too have recently had probs with sore lower back and also stiffness in hips.
    Wondered if it was due to not warming up properly, although normally very careful and thorough? Have got good running shoes so don't think its that. I regularly run between 5 & 7 miles and have never felt quite as sore as this. Have been making a real effort to improve times lately so could be a case of too much too soon? Appreciate your thoughts.
  • Well I am still having problems with my back - I tried giving up the running for a couple of days - it did seem to get better, then immediately returned.  Its not every morning that I get it, however it seems to be worse on the mornings afer rest days, not the mornings after days I have been running?  I have tried looking at stuff on the net but it seems quite unusual to have the pain only in the morning after resting in bed all night (well there are a couple of serious back problems that have this symptom but i am not going to get all paranoid and think i have them - this does only seem to have started once i upped my mileage on the tarmac).

    So where can I get advice on strenghtening my back muscles and should I consult a doc or chiropractor? (or will they just tell me to rest more and strengthen my back muscles??)

  • Hi, I have suffered as well plus received all sorts of sports injury advice. My own view is that try not to get hung up on 'back muscles' It can also mean that you need to firm up the 'abs'  an often missed group with runners. an imbalance between front and back can cause all kinds of problems that only show themselves after higher than normal mileage. and while running try and relax.
  • Have been scanning through the RW health pages and reading various bits & pieces and am so surprised that common thought seems to be that warming up is not such a good idea (cold stretching); better to stretch at the end.  Perhaps I've done the damage before I've even set off!  Must admit I tend to do some at the beginning and at the end of my sessions.  Complicated this running lark isn't it?!

    Have a 10k race next weekend so will try and take it easy, relax a bit more as suggested; I don't want to injure myself. 

  • I've been having lower back discomfort too image after building up to longer runs - training for my first half.  I went to see a physio who sorted me out.  Basically, I was incredibly stiff which meant I was getting my back to work outside of its "comfort zone" and the long run meant I was doing this for a long while hence the discomfort.

     The physio got me doing:

    - 12-15 back extensions

    - an exercise to extend the back and hip on the affected side

    - stretching my piriformis muscle (that really helped)

    - and lastly, back flexion - lying on my back, bringing knees towards my chest (12-15 times)

    I had to do these twice a day and keep running - I noticed a difference fairly quickly image  My plan is to try Pilates as I've heard several runners swear by this for core strengthening...

  • Hi Alison,

    Thanks for that. I'll have a go at some of those exercises. Thankfully, I feel considerably better today. Just a little stiffness left in hips. Due to run again tomorrow, and slowly does it.
  • Hi, I suffer lower back & hip pain due to slipped discs. While its there all the time, its worst in the morning. I'm ok when i keep mobile but during the night i stiffen up so then it takes me a while to loosen out and get moving in the morning. Self-diagnosis is not a good idea, maybe a trip to a physio might be a good idea? In my experience it's best not to ignore little niggles that persist. And yes pilates you can't do enough to strengthen your core, i wish i had long time ago. 

  • Hi Haggismonster

    I've been suffering with lower right back pain for about 5 years now, and the pain is exacerbated by walking & running.

    After being told by the Doc that I needed to get more exercise (!) and a crap experience with a Chiroprator who didn't help at all but liked to take my £25 for 5 minutes of bone crunching, I went to an Osteopath who diagnosed a problem with my sacroiliac joint which is the joint between your spine and pelvis.  It's a dull ache pretty much all the time, but when running it can radiate out to my bum, hip and groin.

    Osteo massages the area and digs her elbow right into my bum cheek image which hurts like hell but afterwards it feels so much better.  My daily homework is to stretch my bum muscles and hamstring especially on the right side as these are tighter than the left which could be causing the problem.

    To date it still plays up when I run any further than 5 miles, and it still aches if I've slept funny or if I've sat in the same position for a while, but it's sort of nice to know that there's a reason for it even though there's not a lot can be done about it!

  • Hi folks, Interesting stuff. My hip stiffness has come back with a vengeance as of this morning and I haven't even run for a couple of days! Also knees really badly ache for no apparent reason (didn't have this at the start of the back/hip problem!?). Think someone mentioned few days ago that back/hip problems can originate from knees and a gait problem. Bit odd that the knees seem to be a secondary ailment with me. Whats going on? Ready for the knackers yard! (am I allowed to say that on here, will I get reported?!)
  • Lol Dara! I've been in the knackers yard a while now, it's not such a bad place once you get used to it!!!

    But i agree with Boardgirl, it's nice to know the cause of the pain even though there may not necessarily be a complete cure...  I've seen a physio, an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon. They've all given me the same advice to stay as active as possible but gently does it!! I do a lot of yoga, walking, swimming, cycling now and less of the running & high impact stuff. You learn over time what your body can handle and how far you can push it... It is worth finding out the problem and once you know you can work with it instead of fighting it. Hopefully it's something that can be easily fixed with the right advice. Good luck. 

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