Skip to Content

Study Gets to the Core of Back Pain in Runners

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 10, 2018 -- The onset of back pain among runners may stem from a general weakness in their deep core muscles, new research indicates.

Such deep muscles are located well below the more superficial muscles typified by the classic six-pack abs of fitness magazine fame, the researchers noted.

Using computer simulations, they found that runners with relatively weak deep core muscles end up relying more and more on their superficial muscles to keep on running. The result is a higher risk for back pain.

"We measured the dimensions of runners' bodies and how they moved to create a computer model that's specific to that person," said study lead author Ajit Chaudhari. "That allows us to examine how every bone moves and how much pressure is put on each joint."

Chaudhari is an associate professor of physical therapy and biomedical engineering at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

The investigators found that "when your deep core is weak, your body is able to compensate in a way that allows you to essentially run the same way," Chaudhari said in a medical center news release, "but that increases the load on your spine in a way that may lead to low back pain."

The study team said it's not uncommon to find avid athletes who fail to put sufficient focus on their deep core strength, perhaps because superficial muscle maintenance tends to get a lot more public attention.

However, Chaudhari said, "working on a six-pack and trying to become a better runner is definitely not the same thing.

"If you look at great runners, they don't typically have a six-pack, but their muscles are very fit," he said. "Static exercises that force you to fire your core and hold your body in place are what's really going to make you a better runner."

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Biomechanics.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2018

Read this next

Will Expelled Droplets Spread COVID? Ventilation May Be Key

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- The tiny droplets that linger in the air after people talk, cough or sneeze aren't very efficient at spreading the new coronavirus, new research...

Patients With Worst COVID-19 May Be Best Plasma Donors: Study

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- Factors such as sex, age and severity of the disease may help identify COVID-19 survivors who have high levels of antibodies that can protect against the...

Trial of Antibody Drug for COVID-19 Stopped for Lack of Effectivenes

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- Testing of Eli Lilly's antibody drug for hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been halted because the treatment doesn't help them recover from their...