Mid Back Pain :-(

After running the 13 miles on Saturday I was feeling great and that anything was achievable.

I thought that I'd take Sunday off however I was itching to go out and so Sunday night I just ran round the block (approx. 3K) to loosen up. Monday I went out running with my mum who is on week 5 of the C25K app so did 2.5K with her however I was still feeling fantastic.

Tuesday . . . . well this is where it all went to pot! I'd really enjoyed running with mum on Monday and we had gone round our local ParkRun course and taken the hill REALLY slowly and I thought I'd try the really slow running on my hills. So I set off thinking I'd only do 10K and it was quite cloudy so I didn't take any water. I ran up my first set of hills without any problems so I felt great. In fact other than getting thirsty at around 7K I was doing really well so I thought I'd extend my run (as you do!) anyway all of a sudden at around 11K I started with mid back pain all the way across my back (where my bra sits) - it got so painful that I headed back and finished my run at 13.5K nearly in tears.

I had my monthly appointment with my sports pain guy yesterday after running a gentle 4K with mum on the canal (no pain) so explained to him and he checked my back out and said that my muscles and spine was very stiff so put the TENs on and then massaged my back and he said I need to correct my posture and to try and drop my shoulders.

Today I ran and really made an effort to force my shoulders down and to not clench my fists but the pain started again at 6K so I came home before it really kicked off.

Any ideas as to how I can correct my posture without it constantly hurting or why on earth it's only just started?

28 Replies

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  • Don't have any great ideas except may be you need to give yourself a couple of days rest - you probably haven't recovered from your hard work on Saturday.

  • Thank you :-)

    I'm not running tomorrow but I might try again on Saturday.

    The only things that have changed recently are my trainers but that was 2 weeks ago and last week I got a new sports bra so whether it's that that's causing me problems as the pain seems to be around the band but it was fitted at a bra shop - I might try running without the racer back clipped together and see if it's any better.

  • How often do you run this sort of volume? I.e. A half followed by runs every day? You've done 50k in the last 5 days. Is that your usual sort of amount?

  • The overall distance has increased over the last month from around 25 miles to around 30 miles however the frequency is unusual. I don't normally run 'daily' - I generally have Monday, Wednesday & Friday as non-running days.

    The week before I ran around the same frequency however I did 10 miles on the Saturday, 4 miles on the Sunday, off Monday, 7 miles Tuesday, 1.5 miles Weds, 7 miles Thursday and off Friday.

  • Sorry I keep changing from Km to miles :-(

  • I would have thought some serious rest and recovery runs were called for after a half-marathon. Easy round the block with your mum on W5 of C25K sounds like a recovery run. 13.5k with hills (however slowly attempted) doesn't sound like a recovery run!

    I know I'm a complete newbie here, but I'd look at a training plan for a half-marathon and look at what they suggest for the 2 weeks after the race and try following that. Although you've probably done as many km already as they would suggest in 2 weeks, so you might be better off just resting!

    As for the back pain, Laura says something on the Stepping Stones podcast about dropping your shoulders and not clenching your fists. If it was caused by running, I'm guessing it was tension in your shoulders/back, so that might help.

  • Allow your body to recover after long runs. You tire and your upper body hunches forward which is why you need a good four or five days recovery after a longer run . You were hurting so why run?

    On runs I let my shoulders drop and run without my arms for a bit, shake them out as I run, stretch my hands and fingers etc as things do tense up

    I also raise my head up, like we were told to,do,on early days of the couch to 5k programme, where you crane your neck as if to peer over a high hedge 🙂 I do that every so,often through the run, and make. A positive effort to get my shoulders back as it's so,easy to hunch forward and get stiff upper body

    I hope you feel better soon 😃

  • Another vote for holding your head up. A good first rule of good posture is to make sure you're always looking ahead. Try to avoid pointing your head downwards unnecessarily always checking the terrain ahead of you. Try to scan ahead and trust your footing a bit more. Maybe your hilly run forced you to point your head downward more than you would on a relaxed shorter run. Also I suggest looking at Alexander technique online - the semi supine position. This fixes my back whenever I get pain, have found it really beneficial over the years. And I also think it may help to go back to the shop where you got your new sports bra fitted. They may be able to advise re strap adjustment etc - perhaps you're subconsciously holding yourself in a way that makes the bra feel more comfortable, but is ultimately causing you to run more tensely?

  • Thank you all.

    I'll try again at the posture and see if it improves however I always make an effort to run upright but I will continue trying to drop my shoulders. I'm also going to try running with my bra on straps rather than racerback.

    I think that I need to rest - I just seem to forget just how tiring running can be but also this week hasn't been great for sleep thanks to our youngest getting into our bed at around 2am and hubby's been very restless as well with his back and been in and out of bed like a yo-yo which interrupts my sleep :-(

  • Have a rest, then maybe think about adding some upper-body strength work to your routine?

    runnersworld.com/strength-t...

  • Thank you - I do core strengthening but if I'm honest that and a few glute exercises are all that I do so I'll have a go with them and see how I get on.

  • Yeah, I think the back and shoulder ones could be good - I need to do more of those too :)

  • I think so too.

    It makes me smile as I started running as I have limited time with 4 kids, a disabled hubby and my own business and I (stupidly!) thought that I could just come home, get my trainers on and run for 30 mins and that was it and would get fit and loose some weight. Now whilst I was correct about getting fit and loosing weight it is getting much more time consuming than I expected but as I actually LIKE running I am having to try and fit more exercising in to enhance my running and also running for longer however I refuse to give in and either stop nor reduce the amount I run back down to 30 mins 4 times a week.

  • Ha ha, I hear that! I took up running originally because it's faster than walking, so I thought it would take up less of my time... two marathons later, ummmm :D

  • Hahahaha!!!

  • p.s. Wow, you are a superhero!!

  • Why thank you however I don't feel like one at the moment :-)

    I'm just more miffed that it's happened now as I've got my first race on the 28th (10K Humber Bridge) and then the Morecambe HM on the 25th June so I really wanted to consolidate my fitness and distance because whilst I know I can do the HM I wanted to be able to do it without crashing towards the end but I suppose I have 6 weeks to try and improve my posture and back pain

    As for the 10K well who knows - the pain started at around 6K yesterday so I suppose I'd manage to 'run through it' for the final 4k if I really need to as I know that I can complete 10K as I have been doing on most of my runs for the past few weeks.

    Just hoping that some rest and sleep will give me enough to do 10K's without pain and give me time to build my upper body strength however 6 weeks isn't all that long.

  • I have recently been taking a couple of paracetamol before long runs for my achey shoulders, I think it helps to a certain extent. Steer clear of ibuprofen though, it can harm the kidneys. And I'd of course prefer not to need the painkillers in the first place!

  • Have a few days off before starting again slowly - and then you will be ready for the 10k which you know you can do. You then have a further month til your HM and you know you can do that too. Just don't peak too early - and remember to taper. Go easy on yourself!.

  • ROseabi. Painkillers only work when your muscles are at rest!

  • Miss W, painkillers work on the central nervous system and brain, I can't understand how the activity of muscles could affect that?

  • I wonder if the thought is not to use when exercising as it will mask the pain and therefore leave open to risk of further injury.

  • That makes more sense :)

  • Gosh that must be hard... I find my running posture worsens when I am stressed. So I try and concentrate on my breathing and relaxing my shoulders and I find then I start running much better. Not sure if that helps but I so hope you can find a way to feel better during your run 😎

  • My pharmacist told me this when giving me my prescription for back muscle spasm, when had high strength ibufren or similar, plus paramol.

  • That is very odd! :)

  • I just wanted to say thank you to you all.

    I decided to run today with my bra not of the racerback clip and after talking to my mum I decided to run to her (5 miles) and then do 5K with her and then I was undecided as to whether I'd run home or have a coffee with her and get the bus back.

    So off I went down to mums which was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was pretty much ALL down hill meaning I averaged around 6mph and knocked a min off my PB 5K time so happy days.

    Met up with mum and did 5K on the canal with her and by the time we'd got to the pub at the end of the 5K I was still feeling good but I chose not to carry on running as the run home was pretty much all up hill and I knew that I'd automatically tense up and I didn't want to put myself back again so instead we stayed for an hour and had a couple of coffees outside enjoying the sun and I got the bus home (which incidentally reminded me why I don't get buses anymore and chose to drive or walk everywhere lol).

    My back pain didn't happen at all which is great and my shoulders were a little sore but they have been all week and didn't feel any worse.

    I feel a little guilty that whilst I've run 8 miles today it was an easy down hill/flat 8 miles but hey ho 8 miles is 8 miles :-)

  • It certainly is! Don't feel guilty :) Sounds fabulously relaxed, just what you needed - well done.

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