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Old 05-09-2009, 09:27 AM   #1
Kieran Barry
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Back spasms from running

My lowere back starts to spasm after almost any medium or long distance running (ie 200m reps or longer), and it seems to be getting worse. It's quite annoying, because it means that any running workout becomes a pain-endurance exercise, and performance falls off a cliff.

I can relieve it a bit by lying down and doing ultra-slow "rollup" situps that I picked from Pilates of all places, but that simply takes the sharp edge off.

Today, my workout was 4x800m. I wound up taking 12 minutes rests between reps, so I was essentially fully rested. My times were:

Round 1: 3:00(1:23/1:36) - this equals my PB.
Round 2: 3:49(1:30/2:18) - Walked part of the second lap after going out too hard.
Round 3: 3:27(1:48/1:38)
Round 4: 3:51(2:05/1:45) - just did this to complete the workout.

The first rep is like the work of a different athlete to the others.

I've decided that I need to do a load of back extensions. Is this correct? And should I look at any other exercises?
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:57 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Back spasms from running

How's your running technique? It could be a problem specific to your running technique (for example if you're leaning too far forwards when you run). If you can get that looked at according to something like POSE or CHI running that would be great.

Otherwise, could be from either weakness or too strong tightness. Hard to tell specifically since we don't know anything about your overall levels of strength or fitness.

If you DL with correct technique and can't hit 1.5-2x bodyweight then it's probably weakness rather than tightness. Back extensions will work, but I'd rather you hit up full body movements like DL/squats/etc.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:31 AM   #3
Kieran Barry
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Re: Back spasms from running

Thanks for replying Steven. You do sterling work at this forum.

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
How's your running technique? It could be a problem specific to your running technique (for example if you're leaning too far forwards when you run). If you can get that looked at according to something like POSE or CHI running that would be great.
I'm actually trying to "run taller", and I've taken the quicker cadence and foot lift from POSE. I haven't mastered the toe landing. I have noticed that my back hurts more as I emphasise my lumbar curve during a session at the track.

Quote:
Otherwise, could be from either weakness or too strong tightness. Hard to tell specifically since we don't know anything about your overall levels of strength or fitness.

If you DL with correct technique and can't hit 1.5-2x bodyweight then it's probably weakness rather than tightness. Back extensions will work, but I'd rather you hit up full body movements like DL/squats/etc.
M/40/220/6ft with 1rm DL of 400 lbs and 1rm BS of 352 lbs. So I'm probably going to be advised to spend some time stretching.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:54 AM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Back spasms from running

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Originally Posted by Kieran Barry View Post
Thanks for replying Steven. You do sterling work at this forum.


I'm actually trying to "run taller", and I've taken the quicker cadence and foot lift from POSE. I haven't mastered the toe landing. I have noticed that my back hurts more as I emphasise my lumbar curve during a session at the track.
Make sure that it's not too much though. You want a correct lumbar curve, but hyperlordosis may cause pain.


Quote:
M/40/220/6ft with 1rm DL of 400 lbs and 1rm BS of 352 lbs. So I'm probably going to be advised to spend some time stretching.
Yes.

The one thing I just thought of that may be your problem is tight hip flexors. They have origin on the lumbar spine and are used extensively in running. If they get tight, they start to pull on the lumbar vertebrae causing pain. (Hence why improperly executed situps, GHD, planks, etc. cause back pain for a lot of people.)

Stretch and massage your hip flexors and see if that helps. Actually, just loosen up everything in your hips would be a good idea.
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:02 PM   #5
Kieran Barry
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Re: Back spasms from running

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Make sure that it's not too much though. You want a correct lumbar curve, but hyperlordosis may cause pain.
I think that my default posture is to tend to under-curve. What I'm feeling is a tired muscle. It happens when I "stand taller", rather than exagerate the curve.

Quote:
Yes.

The one thing I just thought of that may be your problem is tight hip flexors. They have origin on the lumbar spine and are used extensively in running. If they get tight, they start to pull on the lumbar vertebrae causing pain. (Hence why improperly executed situps, GHD, planks, etc. cause back pain for a lot of people.)

Stretch and massage your hip flexors and see if that helps. Actually, just loosen up everything in your hips would be a good idea.
Is that the "ankle on hip, then lean forward" stretch in the Kelly Starrett videos?
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Back spasms from running

Samson stretch is a hip flexor stretch.

Other example.. wfs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybsaH...eature=related

I'd likely guess that your spinal erectors may be fighting against your hip flexors which is fatiguing them a lot.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:00 PM   #7
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Back spasms from running

Thanks for this thread. I had a student go down with back spasms in my aikido class this weekend. Maybe these suggestions can help him avoid a recurrence.

(Yes, we got him professional care for the immediate acute symptoms.)

Katherine
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:55 AM   #8
Jeremy Williams
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Re: Back spasms from running

I didn't want to post a new thread as this one seems relevant and already has some good info in it, I am basically having the same problem as the OP and I am pretty sure it is being caused by my hip flexors. I believe it is being caused by to strong tightness. I am working on POSE and it really helps if I focus on my form, it's not perfect but it's getting better. Aside from the stretch in the video and the sampson stretch what can i do to loosen up? what kind of things can I be doing to warm up before a run. I mean i used to do a light jog as a warm up but that is kind of out now as it cause my back to tighten up.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:24 AM   #9
Brian Strump
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Re: Back spasms from running

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kieran Barry View Post
My lowere back starts to spasm after almost any medium or long distance running (ie 200m reps or longer), and it seems to be getting worse. It's quite annoying, because it means that any running workout becomes a pain-endurance exercise, and performance falls off a cliff.

I can relieve it a bit by lying down and doing ultra-slow "rollup" situps that I picked from Pilates of all places, but that simply takes the sharp edge off.

Today, my workout was 4x800m. I wound up taking 12 minutes rests between reps, so I was essentially fully rested. My times were:

Round 1: 3:00(1:23/1:36) - this equals my PB.
Round 2: 3:49(1:30/2:18) - Walked part of the second lap after going out too hard.
Round 3: 3:27(1:48/1:38)
Round 4: 3:51(2:05/1:45) - just did this to complete the workout.

The first rep is like the work of a different athlete to the others.

I've decided that I need to do a load of back extensions. Is this correct? And should I look at any other exercises?

This is the best I know how to explain it...That being said, more information would be needed to correctly help.
Think of the exercises in the gym(95% of the time) to build strength and power, and the specific rehab exercises(protocols in office) as building endurance for those deep stabilizer muscles of the back. More often than not, someone with low back pain from sitting too long/standing to long is caused from muscle weaknesses in the lower back. Think after sitting for 30 minutes, no pain...60 minutes now you have pain. That'll mostly be from the muscle fatigue, usually cause from muscular imbalances in the hips and pelvis. The squats, dead lifts, presses will strengthen the lower back/core more effectively in a HEALTHY person. I would suggest, those, lighter than your usual loads, but also adding more "rehab" exercises to build endurance of those muscles(pelvic tilts, bridges, etc).

As for running technique, I do not know much about that. But I know that the correct footwear will play an important role, as will proper running technique.
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Last edited by Brian Strump; 12-20-2009 at 07:25 AM.. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:30 AM   #10
Steven Low
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Re: Back spasms from running

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Williams View Post
I didn't want to post a new thread as this one seems relevant and already has some good info in it, I am basically having the same problem as the OP and I am pretty sure it is being caused by my hip flexors. I believe it is being caused by to strong tightness. I am working on POSE and it really helps if I focus on my form, it's not perfect but it's getting better. Aside from the stretch in the video and the sampson stretch what can i do to loosen up? what kind of things can I be doing to warm up before a run. I mean i used to do a light jog as a warm up but that is kind of out now as it cause my back to tighten up.
Page 3 and 4 here is a lot of lower body soft tissue work and postural correction that may help:

wfs
http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2009/1...-dysfunctions/
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