Back Pain After Training: Why Does It Happen?

It's such an important structure and there can be lots of different causes of back pain. Here, we've listed some of the most frequent causes, common after training.
Back Pain After Training: Why Does It Happen?

Last update: 30 October, 2020

You use your back muscles in practically every exercise you do on a daily basis. So, when you train, you demand more of them, and you might start to feel discomfort. However, it’s important to know how to classify back pain after training, whether it’s normal or not, and what you can do to avoid suffering from it.

Causes of back pain after training

A woman with back pain.

The first thing is to identify if this “pain” corresponds to a lifetime of stiffness. In this case, the discomfort will appear the next day, and it’ll be mild-moderate intensity. Also, you’ll only notice it when trying to work those muscles. They’ll appear after making an effort that your body isn’t used to, and after two days it’ll disappear.

However, there are other causes that aren’t related to the body’s natural attempt to become familiar with one routine or another.

Primary causes

Among the primary causes is overtraining. Whether it’s because you’re recovering from an injury, a recent vacation, or any period of time without exercising, it’s important to readapt with cautionIf you want to return to your usual routine after a season without exercising, your muscles will suffer.

The back muscles are especially sensitive since, as we mentioned earlier, they’re used in practically all bodily movements. Thus, strong training when the structures that hold up the spine have weakened can cause pain during or after exercise that can be harmful.

Even if we train frequently, we have to increase the intensity gradually. In this category, we can include not following training-rest cycles. If the muscles are worn down due to a previous workout and you put them under similar stress again, you can cause breaks, tears, sprains, and more.

Second, you must be sure that you do exercises properly. In any exercise, positioning your body well and moving correctly is essential to prevent injuries and pain.

Likewise, you can experience pain due to a lack of muscle flexibility. It’s important to maintain good general flexibility, since training with stiff muscles can cause pain. Also, this will affect the related structures. For example, if you go for a run with stiff iliopsoas or hamstrings, they’ll tug on the spine, causing pain.

A correct warm-up is important to avoid back pain after training. Just as it bothers you to turn a light on in a room to wake up, your muscles also prefer to wake up gradually. Ensuring blood flow while training is essential to not suffer from back pain later.

Secondary causes

A person sitting down with back pain.

Among the secondary causes are spinal conditions. One cause of noticing back pain after training can be pathologies that affect the vertebrae or related structures. So, an intervertebral osteochondrosis, where the intervertebral dis degenerates over time, will make the vertebrae less padded and can cause pain.

Both osteoarthritis or spinal deviations, as well as hyperlordosis or scoliosis, can cause this pain. It’s important to do medical tests to rule out this type of pathology if you have chronic pain and no other explanation for it.

Other factors for back pain after training

When you train, it’s important to focus on what you’re doing. If you’re working out but thinking of folding laundry or the chores you’re going to complete the next day, you might suffer from injuries that would otherwise be preventable. Also, this is the case if you suffer from depression or anxiety, which alters the proper functioning of the body.

In these cases, it’s best to do more gentle exercises and make sure that you’re not taking medication that could affect performance. Factors such as age or being overweight can also play a role. As we become older, the spine won’t be able to handle as much effort. Also, if you’re overweight, it’ll have to endure more.

Slow down, but don’t stop completely

A woman stretching on a medicine ball.

Even if you’re in pain, moving to a completely sedentary life will never be the solution. In fact, it’ll cause worse consequences. It’s best for you to find the cause of your discomfort, and that you act accordingly and keep exercising, even if you go at a slower pace.

Finally, keep in mind that something as simple as walking for 30-40 minutes a day can help prevent numerous pathologies, in addition to improving your overall well-being.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.