Couch to 5K
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Any advice on back pain?

I have long term back injury and have mild back pain all the time, i know the main way I can help fix this is loose weight and regular exercise

I'm just wondering how other people with existing conditions have found a balance between accepting some pain yet knowing they are working within their limitations?

I'm conscious about not aggravating my back as I have quite a physical job but don't want it to hold me back

Thank you for any advice :-)

10 Replies

I previously herniated the discs in my lower back and subsequently suffered from sciatica. With this I have had appointments with a chiropractor (I could no longer ignore the pain) but along with exercises at home, I was told not to be afraid to use ibuprofen if needed but not to rely on it and to ice the area for a minimum of 15 minutes. Continuous use of ibuprofen is a) not an ideal way to live b) the pain relief effects may cause you further injury if you continue carrying out physical activities and not noticing the damage, hence use it sparingly but don't make yourself suffer.

A gel which I sometimes use that I find helpful is biofreeze.

Don't worry about the initial smell this disappears soon after use.

I have also seen advertised/read that you should use deep heat on the affected area before exercise/activity to warm up the soft tissue and to use deep freeze after on the affected area.

Hope this is of some help!


I have found yoga to be brilliant for my back pain. It took about three months of weekly classes to ease it. I now go twice a week, and if I miss a week the old pain resurfaces (to a much lesser degree.). Before yoga I was in daily pain for about three years, now I rarely experience the pain. To begin with I was very frightened of making it worse - just don't push yourself through the pain and if you give it a try, tell your teacher about your issues. Try different teachers until you find one you are comfortable with and trust. Hope that helps, and good luck!!!


Hi Ice-Hacker

I am sorry to hear of your long term back pain.

In addition to the suggestions that have been offered, it may be that some exercises could be done to strengthen your (lower) back.

Examples can be found on youtube, try searching 'Strengthening exercises for runners' a link can be found in this thread here.

But I suggest that you should seek guidance before embarking on this sort of activity.

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My overweight husband was told to do Pilates for his back pain, as well as losing about losing 6 stones , and also to move more in general

HIs back pain has been terrible for some years and he lives on painkillers which do no good from what I can tell. He is now off the couch and beginning to exercise

C25k is only very gentle for much of the programme, and if you go at it very slowly, I can't see that it would do any harm. I think not doing exercise is more harmful; that and long term medication. The back muscles need exercise or they get wasted and weak. I am no doctor though !

I hope you can get to do,some exercise and that it will help. Good luck ☺


For a number of years I've had lower back pain and Sciatica. I've "slipped my disc" a number of times over the years, lifting heavy objects with the wrong posture, which hasn't helped. I also had an epidural local anasthetic for an operation, which I felt aggravated my back problems a few years ago, and walking since then has brought on bad Sciatica for the first mile or two. I'm amazed and surprised that after starting the C25K programme only six days ago, the Sciatica disappeared completely and my lower back pain has all but gone, it's like a miracle!


I would recommend a massage therapist .i have a sports massage every month and it keeps me in shape!



Doing Pilates really helped my lower back pain - also exercises to strengthen my core. I think couch to 5k helped too.


I can't agree more with all the above. I suffer with the dread back but it has got so much better with my running. Losing a couple of stone and strengthening my core has really helped. So much so that if my back pops now I'm only out of action for a few days not weeks. Chiropractors / phsios/ Osteopaths and sports massage have all been used in the past. Good luck. Take care and don't overdo anything. Andy.


I was advised to do yoga or Pilates and it really has helped. I have a lot less pain now I weight less and muscles are stronger too. I did c25k as slowly as I needed to and am now aiming for 10k. I had to get out of the habit of using back pain as a reason to not exercise, which was my biggest problem. Take it easy and remember any exercise is better than nothing. Good luck


There is something permanently not right if it is a long time injury with constant pain.

All the recommendations in this post may help but will probably not cure.

I suffered from back pain and sciatica for well over 30 years and did/tried all the treatments recommended on this post. Osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, back exercises, pilates, steroids, epidurals, pain killers. I had a number of x-rays over the years and in more recent times mri scans.

It was only when i changed doctors that my new GP acted on an MRI scan and referred me to a orthopedic surgeon who recommended an operation. If i had not had the operation i would probably require a wheel chair now.

I am sure that you will /have tried most of treatments but i would pursue with your GP what is causing the pain and seek a medical remedy.


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