Preventing Lower Back Pain After Running

Table of Contents

Preventing Lower Back Pain After Running

Table of Contents

If you’ve experienced a sore or stiff lower back after running, don’t worry – you’re not alone. No, there are many athletes out there that share your pain. Your lower back pain, that is.

It’s a common issue that affects beginners and professionals alike. And in most cases, the cure is a lot easier than you might think.

So let’s look closer at why you might be suffering from back issues after running and how to fix (or even better – avoid) the issue.

But first, let’s discuss the various back muscle groups that might be causing you discomfort in the first place:

Back Muscle Groups

The back muscles are complex and consist of several muscle groups that support various functions. But among the major groupings, seven muscles are the most likely to be a source of irritation to you.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscles, which include the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis, run along the length of the spine. They are responsible for maintaining an upright posture and providing extension to the spine, crucial for supporting the lower back.

Quadratus Lumborum

The quadratus lumborum is a deep muscle located on either side of the lumbar spine. It helps with lateral flexion (side-bending) of the spine and stabilization of the lower back.


The multifidus muscles are deep muscles that run along the spine. They play a key role in stabilizing the vertebrae and providing support to the lower back during movements.

Transversus Abdominis

While technically part of the abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominis contributes to core stability, which is crucial for supporting the lower back. A strong core helps prevent excessive stress on the lumbar spine.

Internal and External Obliques

These muscles are located on the sides of the abdomen and contribute to trunk rotation and lateral flexion. Their engagement is important for maintaining stability in the lower back.

Psoas Major

The psoas major is a hip flexor muscle that originates in the lumbar spine. It plays a role in hip flexion and contributes to the stability of the lower back.

Gluteal Muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Medius, Minimus)

The gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus maximus, play a role in hip extension and are involved in movements such as standing up from a sitting position. Strong glutes contribute to overall lower back stability.

These 7 muscle groupings need to work in harmony to support your lower back when running. If one of these muscles is hurt or impeded by inflammation, the other muscles will overcompensate and lead to further discomfort and more serious problems.

Causes of Lower Back Pain After Running

There are a few different reasons why you might be dealing with lower back issues, especially after a run. 

Some issues are easier to fix than others, so the key is really to identify your problem and start from the easiest possible fix before moving on to the next possibility on the list.

You might be dealing with one of  the following:

An old injury flaring up

Not all back issues are new issues. It could be an old injury, sticking its ugly head out again due to overuse of a specific muscle.

Think about an old fall, sports injury, or injury that happened due to heavy lifting. Once your muscle tissue is hurt, it can take months or even years for the muscles to grow back to their usual strength and elasticity.

It could be that you never addressed the old injury as you should have and are now paying for that mistake. Further medical attention could be warranted if the problem persists, so speak to your GP as soon as you can.

Bad Form

Another possible issue that you might be dealing with is poor running form. Your running form will evolve as you get older and as you adapt to different stages in your life.

So, if you’re constantly suffering from back issues related to form, try to change up the following:

Your stride – Try to shorten your stride. Shorter strides won’t necessarily mean slower times. Simply mixing things up by taking shorter, more powerful strides can increase form and give your back muscles the break they need. 

Your posture – Even seasoned runners can have bad posture when running. Try purposefully running with your back straighter, elbows tucked, and chest out.

The minute changes in posture will change which muscle groups are working most to keep you moving forward. When it comes to correct posture, try to do what feels natural. Get into a groove and see if your lower back feels better after a run.

Arm Swing –  One of the most common mistakes that athletes make is swinging their arms from side to side, as opposed to pumping them back and forward only. The side-to-side movements might be subtle, but the motion puts added strain on your lower back and will eventually cause cramping.

Weak Core Muscles

Your abdominal muscles help keep you upright, and that’s even more true when you’re on a long run. With weak core muscles, your back muscles need to work overtime to keep your posture correct, and this excessive strain is what often causes lower back pain.

The Wrong Shoes

Another one of the most common issues that runners face – and one that is easiest to correct – is running with the wrong shoes.

Shoes, without the right amount of padding or cushioning, can affect the way your body absorbs the pressure created in every stride.

Not only is this pressure bad for your lower back, but it will also cause other joint issues in your ankles, knees, and hips.

A small investment in specialized running shoes might do the trick.

Not Warming Up Properly

There are many benefits to taking a few minutes to stretch and warm up properly before going on a run.

Firstly, it increases blood flow to the muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients that prepare the different muscle groups for the increased demand during the run. 

More than that, incorporating different stretches into your warm-up routine also increases muscle flexibility, reducing the risk of strains and injuries by ensuring optimal range of motion. 

The gradual warm-up also raises the core body temperature, improving muscle function and efficiency. This, in turn, activates the cardiovascular system, gradually increasing the heart rate and respiratory rate to meet the upcoming demands of running. 

Importantly, warming up significantly contributes to injury prevention by reducing the risk of strains and sprains associated with cold, tight muscles. 

Overall, a proper warm-up ensures both physical and mental readiness, making the running experience more effective and enjoyable while minimizing the risk of injuries.

Warm-Up Smarter: Use Carnosport for a Stronger, More Comfortable Run! Its carnosine-rich formula prepares your muscles for the demands of running, reducing the risk of strain and discomfort.

Preventing Lower Back Pain After Running

Needless to say, there are a few things that you, as a runner, can do to address some of the above-mentioned causes of back problems after running. From getting rid of your old running shoes to changing up your stride and posture and doing more stretches before going on a run.

But one of the most effective changes you can make is using a sports gel to prepare your muscles for the run.

Carnosport is a gel that has been developed in conjunction with scientists at Tartu University in Estonia to help athletes of all fields prepare for strenuous exercise and also minimize downtime after an exercise session.

Here’s how it helps your lower back before, during, and after the run:

Before The Run

Using Carnosport before a run helps your muscles by increasing the already prevalent amount of carnosine found in muscles.

Carnosine and L-carnosine are two naturally occurring compounds found in the body that have proven to have many benefits, including anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.

But when it comes to running, the main benefit is that the higher concentration of carnosine is that it helps to create a buffer between your back muscles and the buildup of hydrogen ions that helps to prevent fatigue.

This means that your muscles are better equipped to perform for longer runs without tiring out and cramping up.

During And After The Run

As running engages the muscles in the lower back, particularly the erector spinae, which help maintain an upright posture, poor posture can lead to muscle fatigue. 

And as muscles tire, their ability to provide adequate support and stabilization diminishes, potentially leading to soreness.

More than that, the repetitive impact and loading on the lower back during running can cause microtrauma to the muscle fibers. Microscopic damage occurs at the cellular level, triggering an inflammatory response. This inflammation can contribute to soreness in the lower back muscles.

Fortunately, carnosine’s anti-inflammatory properties will help keep away the onset of muscle spasms during a run and also help you recover from a running session in no time at all. 

DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is the pain that many athletes feel not directly after their exercise session but in the day or two to follow.

And runners aren’t exempt from the dreaded DOMS. 

Carnosine helps athletes not only recover quicker than normal but also reduces the effects of the DOMS, meaning that you’re back in training sooner.


There are many different reasons why you might be experiencing back problems after running. And other than targeting one or two random things to try and find relief for the pain, using a sports Gel like Carnosport is probably your safest bet to remedying the problem.

It’s a targeted approach that focuses on specific muscle groups and supplies the needed amino acids to assist your lower back muscles – helping you run pain-free for longer.

Try CarnoSport for lower back pain relief today – your lower back will thank you for it.

Related: The benefits of L-carnosine in athletes