Short answer, yes. A systematic review by Meng and Yue (2014) found that aerobic exercise can improve chronic low back pain. Jogging is a form of aerobic exercise and therefore could improve your chronic low back pain, but it’s important to remember that running is a high-impact form of exercise and simply not suitable for everyone. It’s also important to keep in mind that a complex combination of conditions, biomechanics, and emotions cause low back pain. Here we’ll discuss the various causes of low back pain, explain how jogging helps, and give you tips to get started and stay safe.
What causes low back pain?
You might have wondered, “why does my low back hurt?” The answer is a complicated one, but there are common conditions that can cause your back to ache. If you’re between 30 and 60 years of age, your low back pain is more likely to be caused by:
- Muscle strain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging or ruptured discs
- Skeletal irregularities
- Weak core muscles
While different conditions present pain in a variety of ways, common low back pain symptoms include:
- Stiffness that makes walking or standing difficult
- Deep dull pain felt in the thigh, butt, and groin area that travels up and down the spine
- Dull aching pain that may worsen when sitting
- Muscle spasms, from mild to severe
- Skin that’s sore to the touch
How does jogging help?
One of the most common causes of low back pain is weak core muscles. Jogging uses a complex combination of muscles, ligaments, and of course your skeletal system, giving a full body workout. This whole body workout helps strengthen muscles especially core muscles, which can help decrease your pain! So, when done correctly, jogging can help:
- Reduce overall pain
- Increase function
- Improve your state of mind
In addition to overall pain reduction and strengthened core muscles, cardio workouts (like running or jogging) can help you lose weight, decrease insulin resistance, and lower your blood pressure too!
How do I start?
You might be asking, “how much jogging do I have to do to see a benefit?” While the exact amount will be different for everyone, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week in at least 10-minute increments. A 2007 study in Physical Therapy Journal, found that this increase in activity resulted in a 41% reduction in pain, a 31% improvement in function, and a 35% reduction in stress.
But wait! Remember that jogging can also be hard on your body, especially if you have poor form. For that reason, it’s important to consult a primary care practitioner (like your physiotherapist) when planning to start any new exercise routine. They can help assess the cause of your low back pain, work with you to set goals, and develop a custom treatment plan just for you.
Why wait? Book and assessment and see if jogging can help your back pain!