Very tight lower back when running

I first noticed this problem last year, sometimes after weights, but worst after running. Today I tried some tempo runs, managed 5x100m before the back got too bad. Lower back is very tight, I’ve tried stretching it but to no avail. It felt alright when I lied on my back with bent knees between runs but came back when I stood up again. I’ll do some pool work instead for the time being.

I do have tight hamstrings, could that be the problem? Or could it be the psoas? I don’t think I have the pelvis tilted forward especially when running but i’m not sure… HELP! :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: :frowning:

One word: ART.

-other than that I would stretch everything connected to the hip including psoas.
-even head forward posture can affect the latisimuss dorsi which is connected to the hip.

  • pelvic tilt is caused by muscle imbalances that affect (connect to) the hip; any number of them.

Seems pretty bad if you cant even do tempo… RICE for now. Get inflamation down. After that (intermediate stage), heat, stretch and ice . Stay active, but get ahold of a maintenance program for back fitness.

Hopefully it is not nerve related in spine - see chiro. - one that knows ART is ideal.

Its a complicated bod we live in, if we’re lucky natural balance hasnt gotten too twisted. If it is, we have to relearn it.

Thanks for advice
Hopefully one of the guys from UK can answer - is it easy to find ART practicioners here in England?

It’s hard to find anything in the UK, just a gym with weights.

See a doctor on Monday. Until then get an ice bag from the supermarket, put it on your lower back, take Ibuprofen.

Check the website and there are some specialists that do ART in the UK! I think the tight hamstrings may have something to do with the lower back pain. One of the origins of the hamstring muscles would be the sacrotuberous ligament (a ligament that attaches the spine to the pelvic bone). Any tightening of the hamstring will cause a pulling on the lower spine when activated. Good luck!

i had a lot of lower back tightness and eventually froze a joint in my back and it turned out that my piriformis was tight. With specific stretches for it and with ART, the problem went away, and when my lower back tightens up now I can usually avert the problem with lower back and piriformis stretches.

i’m sure there could be lots of other causes, but can’t hurt to check it out-

You need to do some hamstring and glute excersises, add something like. Straight legged deadlifts 2x5 heavy weight. Then do some romanian deads with a 3x8 rep scheme decent weight and your back will be fine. This is what I did to correct my issue which came up not to long ago.

Your Glutes and Abs may not be strong enough and excess work is being done by your hams and lower back. I have had this problem diagnosed recently by my therapist and i’m currently working towards correcting this (interestingly, my sprint times are improving as my therapy progresses :slight_smile: ).

For selfhelp try the book Ultimate back fitness and performance by Sturt McGill, thisthoery is expalined and self help correction techniques are explained - available at Sorry - I dont know of any UK retailers.

So, taking everybody’s advice on board, I will:
1:Improve flexibility of hamstrings, hip flexors (edit-including psoas and abs/core), adductors
2:Identify and correct any muscle imbalances - hamstrings are probably weak.
3:See a doctor, physiotherapist and chiropractor.

There is no soft tissue damage, so I don’t think ice will help. I do have piriformis syndrome though, and will need to rectify that.

Wish me luck.

Your psoas and iliacus are tight. The reason the problem was alleviated when you lay on your back with the knees bent was because you took the tension off these muscles, allowing them to relax. That position is referred to as the Constructive Rest Position.

When the psoas and illiacus get tight, they pull on the lower back. That’s also the reason the hamstrings are tight too; the pelvis is cocked forward, tugging on the origin of the hamstrings.

Most muscle tightness on the back of the body is produced by tension on the front. Thus, tight lower back and hamstrings are often caused by tight psoas, iliacus, rectus femoris, and short adductors (pectineus, adductor brevis).

In addition, the abs have a direct fascial connection with the hamstrings. How many people stretch their abs consistently, if at all? If you don’t believe me, try this exercise:

  1. walk around, paying attention to tension in the hamstrings,
  2. lie down in a prone position and push the upper body away from the floor (cobra position in yoga). Play with the angles.
  3. then get up and walk around again. You should feel a difference in the hamstrings.

No doubt you are right Flash. So if I work on psoas/iliacus flexibility then hamstrings should be relieved and their flexibility will come on?

I searched the forum for psoas stretches, there was one thread ( ) where there used to be a picture of a stretch, but it’s gone. What about the lunge position stretch? Any other good stretches anyone? I’m still searching the threads.

If anyone is wondering where these muscles are look here:

How does the ab fascia (at the front?) connect to hamstring fascia (at lower back?)?

The fascia connects through the pelvis onto the ischeum, where the hamstring originate.

Here’s a psoas stretch that you probably haven’t heard of before. It isolates the psoas from the iliacus and focuses on the fact that most of the psoas lies along the lower spine deep in the abdomen. Therefore, it doesn’t relate specifically to hip flexion.

The starting position is a pigeon toe stance with both feet pointing inward. If your psoas is tight, this pigeon toe stance will pull your pelvis forward. Draw the pelvis back. This alone will put the psoas under a stretch. Now extend your arms upward and clasp the hands together. While maintaining this posture, gently bend from side to side, attempting to extend your arms and spine further with each pass. Maintaining proper pelvic position is the hardest part. You’ll feel the stretch deep inside the abdomen. After about ten side bends, walk around and see if there’s a difference in pelvic alignment and hip action. Your hamstrings should also feel looser.

The force is strong with this one.

Many thanks, I just need to know what the pigeon toe stance is!! I will try this though when I know.

How about the one where you lie face down, bend knee so vertical, and have a partner lift leg lifted up at the knee, and push down on the hip/bum?

And how about the one where you lie on a bench/table, pulling one knee up to chest, and have a partner push down the other leg, which hangs off to the side?

Point your toes together = pigeon toe

The last stretch you described is a t-test stretch. Have the partner push the femur down and by also pushing the knee into flexion you can create an excellent rectus femoris stretch.

Pigeon toe simply means stand with the toes pointing inward.

The other stretches are great, but you need a partner.

Thanks for help, I’ll try these stretches for a few weeks and report back.

Another great, yet gentle stretch for the psoas:

  1. lie on the floor with your knees bent
  2. place your left foot over the right knee and rotate the legs over to the left side so that both thighs are on the ground. The left leg helps to hold the right knee toward the ground.
  3. stretch the right arm above your head and slightly bend the torso to the left

Repeat on the other side.

You might also try moving the right hip up and down. I like to add some motion to stretches when possible.

:slight_smile: Thats a damn good stretch Flash! Please could you e-mail me a copy of the micro-stretching article to the following address