Back pain: Hi Everyone Can anyone help please... - Couch to 5K

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Back pain

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Hi Everyone

Can anyone help please.

I did W7R3 a week and a half ago. I shouldn't have done it as my lower pain was a little painful but really wanted to complete Week 7. Bad mistake! I was in so much pain. Still in too much pain to run but wandered if anyone had the same problem? I obviously have a weakness there as the first time on did C25K I got to the end of W1 and did my back again and couldn't restart until 8 weeks later 😳

So far I have had acupuncture and seen a chiropractor.

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What did the chiropractor say? Have you got a diagnosis?

No real diagnosis but I know I have weakness in my lower back and also sciatica. I've had dry needling and adjustments with chiro and Chinese acupuncture 😳

IrishprincessGraduate in reply to Shortywalshe

Pilates is the best thing for strengthening the core that supports the back so try and find a class to start this. A good teacher will also look at your posture, how you sit and stand and tell you how to correct it.

Most of us sit too long and don't sit properly, ie we should sit on the actual hip bones, not collapse our backs into the seat.

Swimming is good too but not the breast stroke as that puts pressure on the knees and lower back. Front crawl or back stroke are good. I know this because my husband had sciatica years ago and this was what he was told to do.

I hope you get it sorted.


You don't give many details of your back pain and it may be worth seeing a doctor to see if it is muscular or something else. Muscular back pain is the commonest but.....

For any back pain (not kidneys) then posture is very important. Pilates is very good for this.

Posture starts at the feet, so check your shoes and gait.

When running don't look at the ground as it makes you bend over (bad), look forward & ahead and relax your shoulders, then your back position is better.

Anti-inflammatory gel is also good. Reducing pain will also help your posture (and doesn't mask symptoms when you see your doctor btw). Wheat bags that you heat in the microwave also help relax muscles but don't use anti-inflamatory gel on warmed skin as you will absorb more.


A sports physio might be helpful.

Believe it or not I actually work at a physiotherapists and it's really hard to get them to treat me as they are so busy and I obviously don't pay for treatment so they aren't really interested 😩

Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Shortywalshe

Go somewhere else or offer to pay.

Thank you 😁

My postures not great but have been trying to correct this with strengthening exercises. I've also been using the heated wheat bag.

When I run I do really try to concentrate on keeping my head up and shoulders back and relaxed as it also seems to help with my breathing.

Many thanks for you advice 😊😊


I have a long history of back pain spanning over 35 years so you have my sympathy. An MRI scan is the only way to really know what is going on but the advice above about posture, stretching and gel is good. I run with a group mostly and the leaders keep a close eye on my posture for me as I do lean forwards. Another point to bear in mind is that strong abdominal muscles support your back and strong back muscles support your abdomen. Something to give some thought to.

Shortywalshe in reply to Minty4

Hmmm that's good for thought, I think maybe I should start some sit ups daily once my back is better....thank you


A classic lean forward pointing toes of one foot out, hamstring stretch then lift the toes up while pushing your butt out behind you is a great way to relieve the sciatic nerve.

Shortywalshe in reply to Minty4

Fab thank you, I've had more help from you guys with advice than I have from Physio's I work with!


That could be a real pain. A while ago my osteopath was stretching me like a chewing gum over a period of months and I have been doing regular plank exercises for years ever since and my problem (up until then fairly persistent) went away. Then again, a lot of factors would determine the right treatment. If pain won't go away, try another doctor, get a good physio, some of those guys are miracle workers - but do NOT run through the lower back pain, the trouble won't go away by itself.

Shortywalshe in reply to mrrun

Thank you all these exercises will definitely keep me busy 😁


You mention sciatica. Is that a confirmed diagnosis? The trouble is, while sciatica refers to one very specific condition, there are a number of conditions that present very similar symptoms, even to the extent that some people, even some doctors, lump them all under the one umbrella term of sciatica.

Sciatica specifically is caused by compression or damage to the sciatic nerve as it emerges from the lower spine. Lots of nerves pass through that general area. One such nerve passes from the spine, under the muscles in the bum, and then down behind the hamstrings. This nerve often gets compressed by the bum muscles (glutes) as they develop through training. Any minor injury to the glutes that cause inflammation can also further compress the nerve. I should probably say at this point, this is just stuff I've accumulated through my own research. I'm not a doctor. But apparently these condition is quite common when we suddenly increase our activity level.

After any injury or inflammation has gone, the trick is to stretch the muscles. Simple physics/biomechanics. If the muscles are tight,they'll pull tight against the nerves. If they're nice and elastic then less pressure on the nerves. So simple stretching exercises may help.

If your posture is off, there are stretches for that too. Weakness in a particular muscle group is only one aspect of the cause of bad posture. If muscles in one group are too tight, no amount of strengthening on the opposite group is going to fix it. It will just pull everything tighter. So the trick is to stretch the muscles that are pulling at rest (pulling you into a bad posture) while also strengthening the muscles that are needed to pull you straight. Maybe have a look on YouTube for anterior and posterior pelvic tilt, and see if any of them match you. Maybe also look at core strengthening and stretching exercises.

Wow thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I will certainly look into all that. I must admit I self diagnosed sciatica because the pain travelled from my back down to the top of my thigh.


All great advice, just to add, having had a lot of back problems including but not limited to prolapse L4/5 disks, fractured T10 and a pars defect and narrowly dodging the surgeons knife I can't advocate strongly enough for working on your core. I had a great physio that helped so much... I'm pretty sure a lot of the reason I managed C25K was because of the strong core I built up during physio.

Shortywalshe in reply to Cliff_H

Thank you for sharing that. I'm going to go see a Physio (hopefully with the Ines I work with if they can fit me in!) have massages with lots of stretching and dona load of exercises at home. Hopefully I can get back to running in a weeks time as it's so frustrating having got this far and having to stop.


Ok I had real back trouble the last time I tried C25k and ended up not starting again for a year. It was a relatively easy fix. First wait until your back is better. Running will jar it even more.

Check your posture. I used to watch the floor/my feet, which means you are hunched over. Stand straight, pull your core in and shoulders back. If you get the chance try some core strength exercises on not running days. It will help xxx


i broke my back 4 years ago and suffer constantly. really high doses of tramdol and pregabalin on a daily basis.

Ive found that a heat pad really helps me when my back is aching. the bean bag type that you heat in a microwave are really cheap and easy or you can buy an electric pad, sort of like a mini electric blanket to wrap round yourself. Worth a try!.

Hope your back eases up, it would be a real shame to have to give up now after all your effort reaching week 7.


Shortywalshe in reply to EuanR

Thank you Euan,

Yes the heat pad is great and definitely helps.

I won't give up but just frustrated that I will probably have to go back a couple of weeks.


Having given you the benefit of my experience, I have put my back out on W8R3. I need the pain gone by Sunday. I will be devastated if it isn't. 😱

Shortywalshe in reply to Minty4

Oh no! Poor you πŸ™ It's horrid isn't it. So frustrating, but definitely don't do what I did and do a run as it will definitely make it a million times worse. I haven't ran for nearly two weeks now.! Hope your back gets better really quickly. Get that heat pad out!

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