Low back pain with running

This is a loaded question and one that requires higher level evaluation than traditional physical therapy can provide.  The low back is a complicated area with many different structures that could be causing the pain. A few possible culprits:

  • Facets: these are the joints that connect one vertebrae to the vertebrae above and below.  Pain is usually localized to the area of injury and comes on with specific movements.

  • Discs: discs are structures that provide space between vertebrae and consist of a firm outer layer with a soft interior (think jelly donut).  This inner jelly can protrude out of the outer layer and impinge on other structures – facets, nerves. When they compress a nerve, pain will not be in the low back, but down into the glutes or legs.  It can also present as numbness or tingling.

  • Musculature: there are several inches of musculature to support the low back and any of these layers can be strained (overstretched, overused).  Pain will be relatively local but can be aggravated by specific movements or after activity.

Typically, it is a combination of these structures that are causing pain making it a difficult condition to diagnose and treat.

Great.  How can 3 Planes help?

The back is usually not the guilty party, but it instead tries to make up for a weak, underutilized, or tight joint or muscle elsewhere.   Therefore, we would look at several things:

  • Flexibility and mobility in the upper back and hips.

  • Objective strength in the shoulder girdle and lower extremities using a handheld dynamometer to compare sides as well as to expected norms.

  • Movement analysis using high speed cameras and 3D modeling of aggravating activities to determine if there are any movement dysfunctions placing unnecessary stress/demand on the low back.

  • EMG – nerve activation analysis to determine if required musculature is being utilized during aggravating activity.

  • Specific home program to address impairments.

If you get back pain with running, this type of testing is for you. Contact us today!