With beautiful weather all year round, it’s not surprising Florida is home to hundreds if not thousands of races. From 5K to complete marathons, there’s a race in Florida for every runner out there. And every one of those runners is all too familiar with the aches and soreness associated with training.
At ChiroCare of Florida we want to encourage you to reach the finish line, which is why we’ve prepared this pain-free prep guide so you can maintain your rigorous training while keeping your spine and health in check. Keep reading to learn more about how chiropractic care, a complete wellness plan, exercise, and a few extra tips can make your training for the race as pain-free as possible.
Can Running Cause Back Pain?
Many runners experience back pain, mostly due to the repetitive stress and impact running puts on the body, specifically on the spine. In most cases, the act of running itself is not the direct cause of your back pain. However, running can exacerbate other symptoms, including aching muscles and stabbing pain.
When your spine is aligned, your running should not make anything worse. However, anytime there’s a misalignment, running can add more pressure to your spine, which speeds up the wear and tear process, and also places you at higher risk of injury.
Common Lower Back Injuries for Runners
When it comes to runners’ pain, it can be broken down to three different types of pain: muscle, bone-, or disc-related pain. They each show various symptoms and can set your race training back if not addressed. Think about muscle spasms, difficulty twisting and bending, and any weakness in the lower back or legs. Because of the stress and impact running places on their bodies, runners are prone to various injuries.
Plantar Fasciitis – inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the tissue in the bottom of your foot. People with a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Symptoms include stabbing pain at the base of the heel that radiates through the foot.
Achilles Tendonitis – inflammation of the Achilles tendon, located at the back of the heel. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the area. This is caused by repetitive stress to the tendon; those who run for longer distances often experience this condition.
Shin Splits – radiating pain that starts in the front or inside of your shin bones. Pain is usually spread along the bone and might feel at some point like a stress fracture.
Stress Fractures – this type of pain gets worse with activity and instantly gets better with rest. Stress fractures are small tears in a bone, usually the shin and feet for runners. These type of fractures are widespread among beginner runners.
Runner’s Knee – the most common overuse injury among runners. Runner’s knee can be the result of many things, but in most cases, it happens when the kneecap is misaligned.
Muscle Pull – a smaller muscle tear, also known as muscle strain. Muscle pulls are often caused by overstretching a muscle.
Ankle Sprain – this happens when someone accidentally stretches or tears the ligaments surrounding the ankle. Ankle sprains have various degrees and sometimes can get better with rest.
IT Band Syndrome – a syndrome that causes pain on the outside of the knee. The IT band is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh. When this ligament thickens it starts rubbing the knee bone, causing inflammation.
Self-Care Tips for Lower Back Muscle Strain
Luckily, a lot of these common injuries can be treated at home. Of course, this is not to say that you should never seek medical attention for some of these injuries. But, if you feel the pain is not severe, try some of these self-care treatments:
- Try ice and cold therapy
- Compress the area
- Elevate your foot
Stretches to Prevent Back Pain While Training for the Race
While injuries cannot be prevented to their fullest, there are many ways to make sure your body remains in the best conditions. One of the best ways to avoid back pain while training for a race is by incorporating stretching exercises before and after your running routine.
Stretching not only improves circulation, which helps fight inflammation. But it also helps reduce stress and naturally enhances your energy levels. Some stretch to prevent back pain and injury include:
- Forward and backward neck tilt
- Side neck tilt
- Downward neck release
- Shoulder roll
- Cobra stretch
- Cat-cow stretch
- Seated spinal twist
- Spinal bridge
For detailed instructions on how to perform these exercises, visit our chiropractor and recommended stretches guide.
Upcoming 5K Races in Florida
Now that you have all this knowledge on how to make sure your running training sessions remain pain-free, you’re ready to sign up for your next run. Here are some of the most exciting 5K races in Florida to get you motivated.
Light Ones Path 5k – October 5th, Fort Lauderdale
Hollywood Beach Oceanside Half Marathon – October 13th, Hollywood
North Palm Beach Links 5K – October 26th, North Palm Beach
5k for Down Syndrome – November 3rd, Coral Gables
Holiday Fantasy of Lights 5K Run – November 23rd, Coconut Creek
Orange Theory Half Marathon – November 30th, Boca Raton
It’s a Wonderful Run 5K – December 14th, Boca Raton
MIA 5K – December 15th, Miami
Jingle Bell Jog 5K – December 21st, Sunrise
Keep in Mind
If you’re not already doing this, having a complete wellness plan around your running routine is paramount. Make sure you’re listening to your body, warm-up and stretch every time you train, incorporate strength and cross-training during the week, and to rest. In addition, you also want to make sure you stay hydrated, and above all, safe.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our chiropractors are always available to help you care for your spine and body to make sure they both remain in top shape. When your spine is aligned, your muscles are relaxed and pain-free, there’s no doubt your running routine will notice an improvement. If you’re ready to incorporate chiropractic care in your race training plan, contact one of our 11 offices across South Florida and schedule your first appointment today.