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Back Spasm During Running: Causes, Symptoms, Remedy

Back Spasm During Running: The Relationship Between Back Spasms and Running

Back Spasms, which are muscle contractions occurring in the back muscles and result in lower back pain and spasm occurs during running or post-running. Depending on the body weight, age, muscle strength and general heath condition, running is somehow a strenuous activity that can result in increasing back spasm. Spasms are nothing but a process of tightening of the muscles in the lower back area of human body and this condition can be very painful and annoying for the patient.

Running applies a tremendous force on the back portion of human body, which commonly causes micro-tears or direct injury to the soft tissues or muscles and tendons in the back. During running, especially during the sharp bending on the track or area may cause pulling, pushing or twisting of back muscles and result in a sudden back spasm, especially when one has to balance speed when running. This creates abrupt weight/pressure or strain on the muscles, ligaments of the back and results in back spasm. This is also an important reason for back spasm while running. Actually any physical activities including running and which puts pressures on muscles and force them to overwork abruptly may cause unbearable back pain and back spasm that continues for weeks and months.(1)

A medical history of previous trauma, inflammation or muscular weakness in the lower back area is a common cause of back spasm during or after running. Now while undergoing strenuous exercise, strength training or running with these health conditions or deficit physical fitness, the risk of developing a back spasm is comparatively higher when compared to individuals who run without any health issues. Apart from these, back spasm during running can also occur as a result of improper running techniques, lack of stretching before and after running and any other strengthening type of workouts etc. Back spasm is one of the most common problems for athletes who overdo their training.

Back Spasm During Running

Common Causes of Back Spasm During Running

Muscle Imbalances Causing Back Spasm During Running

During running, if for some or other reason the spine undergoes a strong stretch and gets pulled out of its natural alignment due to imbalance of muscle which results in a back spasm. Sometimes it is noticed that, the two kinds of muscles that are existing together are positioned side by side. If one muscle is strong and the opposing muscle is weak, it causes an imbalance that can affect the patient’s posture. Here is an example, suppose, the quad muscle is much stronger in a person and the gluteus muscles is weaker, then the pelvis of that person tilts forward rather than sitting straight in spinal alignment. Such tilting condition is called anterior pelvic tilt. This places significant pressure on the lower back, leading to back spasms while running.(2)

Weak Core Strength Causing Back Spasm While Running

The area of the body, which is commonly referred to as the core, is the entire midsection of the body. This core area of the body includes the traverse abdominals, obliques, quadriceps, glutes, back muscles and hamstrings, and lower lats. Muscles of this area are commonly known as core muscles. These muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body and especially the core muscles are responsible for spinal stabilization. Weak core muscles cannot effectively support the spine.That may be one of the principal causes of back spasm or protruding waistlines during or after running because of destabilisation of spine and weaker core strength resulting in a back spasm during running.

Wrong Footwear Causes Back Spasm During Running

Very old and defective or inappropriate Footwear or running shoes used at the time of running can cause severe Spasms in the back. Use of such footwear also causes foot imbalances such as high or low arches, which directly affects the spinal cord. Consequences of such arches also cause the foot to pronate or supinate. This also causes lower back spasm during or after running. An anatomical defect of foot might cause the foot imbalance; and likewise the uses of Defective or inappropriate Footwear easily results in back spasm during running. Consult any Podiatric, for an additional arch support or insole for your running shoes. Also, throw out those old running shoes and invest in a good quality running shoes to avoid back spasms and other problem when running.

What are the Typical Associated Symptoms of Back Spasm During or After Running?

Back Spasm Has Some Common Effects and Prolonged Effects Such as:

Common Symptoms of Back Spasm with Running

  • Back spasm and pain is typically ongoing.
  • Back spasm and pain does not flare up for a few days or weeks and subsides gradually.
  • Spasm and pain sometimes is worse in the leg and foot than in the lower back.
  • Back spasm and pain may be accompanied by weakness and numbness.
  • Pain is usually felt on one side, the buttock or leg only.
  • Back spasm and pain worsens after long periods of standing still or sitting; however gets relieved somewhat with activity.
  • There is a feeling of severe sensation of burning, tingling.
  • Ankles, knees and lower back are affected.
  • Patient finds it difficult to move the leg and/or foot with spasm occurring with running or after running.

Prolonged Symptoms of Back Spasm with Running

  • Muscle Cramp or Pulled muscle in the leg.
  • A continuous and untreated back spasm may turn into Sciatica.
  • Unbearable feeling of inflammation into the nerves.
  • Patient is unable to move or even walk.

Remedies to Get Rid of Back Spasm While Running


More often back spasms or any other spasm occurring with running is caused due to dehydration. Overworking causes the evaporation of waters including the electrolytes. Drinking more water with electrolytes during running is a perfect remedy to relieve back spasm caused by dehydration.

Cooling/Ice Application

Application of cold compresses to the painful and spasm areas, is also a good remedy to relieve back spasm occurring during or after running. Using or compressing Ice Pack over the region of overworked muscles reduces or stops the energy flow. Apply Ice Packs for 20 minutes with an interval of 2 minutes continuously to heal the injured muscles.(3)


Applying heat is also a well researched remedy for reducing pain and spasm along with the swelling of muscles. Local application of heat stretches the muscle, heals and relaxes it.


If back spasm occurs from long periods of inactivity or from lack of movement of your body, especially the back portion, due to a long time sitting in a particular position or a disadvantageous or uncomfortable posture, then gentle exercise and mild stretching helps in reconditioning and healing the muscles again.

Medication and Physiotherapy

NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which can be taken for relief of back spasm from running. Local application of muscle relaxants in ointment or spray form is the most convenient way to get immediate relief. However, consulting a physiotherapist is suggested for chronic back spasm.

Bathing with Epsom Salt

Soaking your muscles in naturally rich magnesium substances like Epsom Salt that is poured in a bath tub and soaking in it is also an effective remedy to treat back spasm which has occurred during or after running.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 28, 2019

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