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I am posting for my running buddy who isn't much of an Internet person...but she is one hell of a runner, a natural athlete in fact. This problem has her vexed. I am hoping someone can point us in the right direction.
As I said "H" is a natural runner. She has extraordinary lung capacity and is naturally fast. In September I talked her into running the Nike Half Marathon three weeks before the race. She has never run in her life, yet she finished with the first group! Anyway, after the race she caught "the bug" and we agreed to do the LA Marathon together. H has started to train really heavily (I think too heavily) - packing in the miles and now she is experiencing the following problem:
At about mile 6 she starts feeling pain in her lower back. As she continues to run, her left leg goes numb and the back pain increases. Last weekend she was doing 16 miles and the pain became so intense she had to stop after 12 miles and walk the remaining 4 back to her house. The pain subsides after her run, some ice and Advil. It's obvious to me that she is overtraining, but what we really want to know is what specific injury presents these symptoms? Can anyone point us in the right direction?
Well it's clear she's overtraining - and there's no way to fix that except to back off. Trying to run a marathon within such a short time of beginning to run is a pretty risky proposition. Cardiovascular fitness is only ONE aspect needed... and she's apparently got that one covered. What she may not have is the musculo-skeletal strength yet. She should take this seriously and see someone for a definitive diagnosis - could be a sacroiliac joint issue, could be a muscle imbalance, could potentially be a pelvic stress fracture! Only way to diagnose this is to see someone face-to-face for an evaluation. If she want to see a PT - send her to this page and tell her to use the links at the top of that page to search for a specialist PT in her geographic area. I'd recommend the APTA specialist directory search engine. Tell her to look for an Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) PT and she can narrow her results further by selecting one that focuses their practice on lower back issues. Depending on where you live, you may need a physician's referral - so she should probably see her doc first. Don't mess around with this - if she continues to run through the pain she's going to set herself back a lot further than if she just dealt with the injury quickly.
Hope this helps - Janet
treat the cause, not just the symptoms... runningstrong