Should I Run With Lower Back Pain Or Not Is The Question

Should I Run With Lower Back Pain If I’m Overweight?

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As many of us know, achieving weight loss is difficult but it’s very easy to gain weight.

Diet and exercise are the go to solutions.

But when you're starting out is having lower back pain when running overweight ok?

The one thing that people find challenging is shedding the excess pounds and retaining a healthy weight.

Keto After 40

Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be too happy if another individual dictated what you could and couldn’t eat. 

But, at the same time, no one wants to be overweight.

Obesity is one of the most common health problems among Americans.

At least two-thirds of the population is considered overweight.

Even toddlers have been sucked into this scary pandemic.

Back Pain and Being Overweight

It is no secret that being overweight places too much stress on an individual’s back, spine, and pelvis.

Hence, triggering back pain.

Surprisingly, the correlation between back pain and obesity is not cut and dry.

In fact, this has remained a controversial topic among researchers.

On one hand, some people believe that there’s a strong association between the two health problems.

According to these proponents, the additional weight pushes the pelvis in a forward direction.

Which in turn, strains the lower back. This leads to the conclusion that lower back pain due to overweight issues is real.

In contrast, there are those who believe that the body mechanics are not the only cause of pain in the lower back.

Lower back pain is a condition that differs from one person to another. It can be triggered by other factors such as improper shoes.

This is why it is very important to have proper running shoes.

Research Supporting the Correlation between Overweight and Lower Back Pain

Statistically, evidence shows a strong, incontestable correlation between obesity and lower back pain.

To back this claim is one review that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

In this review, data from 95 high-quality experiments were compared and contrasted.

The results showed that lower back pain was directly related to an increase in the body mass index (BMI).

Based on this research, people who maintained healthy weight were at a lower risk of suffering from lower back pain. 

This study also revealed that overweight individuals had a higher probability of requiring medical care to treat lower back pain.

Another study that backs this correlation claim is one carried out in 2017 by the University of Tokyo Hospital.

During this study, researchers reviewed the medical background of 1152 men from 1986 to 2009.

They concluded that there was a direct relationship between an individual’s BMI and the risk and rate of back problems.

Research Questioning the Correlation between Overweight and Lower Back Pain

Should I Run with Lower Back Pain

A different group of researchers strongly believe that the relationship between overweight and back pain is not entirely clear.

In 2017, a collaborative study was conducted by Cornell University. The purpose of this study was to identify the specific back or spine problems that are caused by obesity.

The researchers collected data from the 2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Study.

They focused on four common back problems: lower back pain, neck problems, spine degeneration, and internal disc disruption (IDD).

Based on their research, they discovered that overweight was a strong predictor of IDD and lower back pain.

However that was not the case in the other two back problems. What this means is that although some correlation exists, there are a ton of other factors that cause back problems.

Otherwise, the results should have been identical from all four cases of back problems.

According to these researchers, weight is not the sole cause of lower back pain.

It is more of a contributing or complicating factor rather than a cause.

Therefore, if an individual already has herniated disc or spinal arthritis, being overweight only exacerbate these conditions. 

As far as body mechanics were concerned, being overweight resulted in uneven distribution of weight.

This aggravates the wear-and-tear that had already affected the person.

Running is a great weight loss tool but lower back pain after running causes a lot of discomfort. 

This makes staying motivated difficult proposing the question; should I run with lower back pain?

Back Problems Caused by Being Overweight

Regardless of the side you are on, it’s evident that being overweight doesn’t help your back.

Essentially, the back is a structure that anchors your body and influences movement.

This structure is made up of a spinal curve and works effectively when in a neutral position.

When you’re overweight, any extra weight in your midsection causes your pelvis to shift forward.

This, in turn, forces the spine to curve excessively in the forward direction. A condition referred to as hyperlordosis or swayback.

Subsequently, this condition places undue stress on your back muscles. Which are then forced to shoulder the weight.

So how to prevent lower back pain when running. One remedy for this is to perform exercises that reinforce your lower abdominal muscles.

Doing exercises that strengthen the lower back are also helpful. As mentioned earlier, proper running shoes are also very important.

Running is a great tool for losing weight. Reducing your BMI relieves the abnormal pressure being placed on your back and spine.

Some of the back problems that you’re likely to experience if you’re obese include:

  • A herniated disc: this is one of the most common spinal injuries, for which people seek medical attention. Being overweight increases the intensity but also the duration of this problem. Symptoms of a herniated disc include throbbing pain in your lumbar nerve and sciatica.
  • Spine osteoarthritis: it’s one of the conditions that gets exacerbated by being overweight. It is characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage present in the joints and discs of the neck and lower back. This condition  also causes pain in your arms and legs.

Should I Run with Lower Back Pain - 3 Key Takeaways

If you are overweight, there’s a high chance that the excess weight is exerting undue stress on your lower back and spinal system.

However, this does not mean that obesity is the primary cause of pain in this area.

We recommend getting checked out by a doctor, who will determine the underlying problem.

But even then, losing just 10% of your body weight goes a long way in preventing and easing back-related issues.

And the good thing is that there are tons of ways to lose weight.

Running is a great way to speed up weight loss. Invest in some quality cross training shoes and start a running workout.

Diet is also a crucial part. Making changes to your diet and adding cardio is a good way to lose weight. 

Regardless of the option you choose, maintaining a healthy weight is one way to prevent lower back pain.