I recently found out I have osteoarthritis in my lower back. Before I started feeling the symptoms this last time, I had made it to week 8 of c25k. I really enjoy the running at this point and don't want to give it up, but general advice is to stick to low-impact exercise like walking and swimming. When I started the program, I read a lot of information about how to do it correctly and minimize any potentially negative effects of the running itself. As a result, I have never had any real pain while working through the training program. I would get a little wobbly-legged after a couple runs, but that was it. I think this latest pain episode was triggered by the poor lifting habits I employ at work. I work in a printing plant, and we have a lot of paper that I like to keep organized. Because I'm often trying to quickly straighten up, I lift too much at one time or overextend my reach. I've felt a little pain after each workday that I did this. So then my question is, has anyone continued a running regimen and been diagnosed with osteoarthritis? I'm willing to tone down the workouts some, but I really have grown to love to run already, and I would really miss it. I have access to an elliptical machine, but I so prefer hopping out of bed and out my front door first thing in the morning and running through the neighborhood. Thanks for your advice!
Back pain is rarely aggravated by walking and running. Back pain is more often aggravated by lifting as you described, and sitting. The worse combination is sitting for prolonged periods and than immediatly participating in vigorous exercise particularly lifting. Generally walking is recommended for individuals with back pain. As far as Osteoarthritis goes moderate amount of exercise is good. Take a look at short article Osteoarthritis Cartilage and Exercise. The article speaks to knee osteoarthritis, but the concepts apply to the lumbar spine as well.
Damien Howell PT, MS, OCS - www.damienhowellpt.com
That's encouraging! Based on what you two have told me, I'm going to continue full-steam-ahead! Thanks a million. I really didn't want to quit when I'd only just begun. Beginning this running program has been one of the best decisions in my life - I feel great because of it!
I read your article - thank you for posting that link! I have been careful to begin my training with proper form and pronation, so I think I'm in a good place to continue running. I strike with my toe and with a relatively small stride - only a 10 minute mile at present. I'm definitely going to be incorporating the extra stretches my orthapaedic doctor gave me, but I'm concerned that the piriformis stretch causes pain. I forgot to ask about it when I was at her office, but do you know why I would experience pain only when performing that stretch on the left side?
Take a look at Buttock HIp pain Stretching exercise and Should you stretch it out. Stretching exercises are not always the answer, in fact stretching exercies are often the problem.
Damien Howell PT, MS, OCS