Why running is a pain in my ass.

When I say running is a pain in my ass, I really mean it. Running is a pain in my ass, but only sometimes. butt Pain

You see, I have scoliosis. It sounds much worse than it actually is, which is technically a curved spine. Mine sort of looks like an S. I’ve never really had any noticeable issues from it until a few years ago and unfortunately, the first symptom that I ever had was sciatica. I got it anytime I sat down for longer than 15 or 20 minutes. It is quite painful and for me it started in my butt and ran down the back of my leg. Serious nerve pain that felt like thousands of needles stabbing me. Fun, I know.

Back Pain

After a year or so, the sciatica only happened occasionally and it was manageable. Then about 2 years ago I started to have lower back pain on occasional long runs. At the time I didn’t realize that all of these symptoms were related to my scoliosis, (I know, I’m a genius), until eventually I started to have pain deep in the side of my butt, more commonly known as piriformis syndrome.

So, if you’ve wondered what I’ve been talking about when I say, I’ve been nursing a little injury or that I’m taking some time off, now you know, it’s all related to my scoliosis.

When I first realized that scoliosis was triggering these injuries, I went to see a doctor who told me I probably shouldn’t run….

Stop running

After I fired that doctor and found another one, he determined that my injuries were actually caused by some key factors and that by identifying these factors and addressing them, I could possibly prevent future issues. Unfortunately, I got a little lax in my pre-hab, hence the piriformis syndrome I am suffering from currently.

But for those of you who are interested, here are the key factors that led to my latest injury:

  • Lack of Proper Stretching both before and after runs – (Stretching during long runs is also sometimes necessary)
  • Weight Gain – (7 pounds may not seem like a lot but that’s over 6% of my total body weight, oops.)
  • Lack of Core Work – If you want a strong back you have to start with a strong core.

So for the next 5 days, I won’t be running. I’ll also be icing my hips for 20 minutes every hour and I’ll be stretching and foam rolling like crazy. Then after 5 days, I’ll slowly start to run again.

And once I’m able to run again, I’m going to follow the plan to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

  • I will stretch each and every time I run, before and after.
  • I will keep my weight steady.
  • I will do planks like a boss!

Planking Puppy

Now, I just need to find an activity to keep me busy and sane while not running…..

Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions?

Anyone else suffer from scoliosis? Does it cause you pain when running? How do you avoid injury?

15 thoughts on “Why running is a pain in my ass.

  1. I have scoliosis too! Mine is a “c” curve but has some other loopy de loops towards the top and also causes neck and shoulder pain, not to mention crazy out of alignment hips and a funky gait if I get tired!!

    My yoga is the biggest help….Seriously! Alignment-based yoga. Have you tried Iyengar yoga? There are now two classes in the area and that will help your spine greatly, as well as other runner specific/scoliosis specific/and alignment based classes. You can also get some great dvds by Elise Browning Miller (http://www.ebmyoga.com/).

    I also regularly see Lisa Jamison at Lift Performance Enhancement (in Tampa) for massage therapy to work on proper alignment, as well as Art of Acupuncture in St. Pete for acupuncture treatment.

    Email me if you want to know more! I have been managing my scoliosis for over a decade…the weight gain is probably also from your back! When our spinal curves get crazy it can make our digestion terribly wonky too! 🙁 (And commence bloating and other nasty nasties that can make those few pounds show up on the scale!!!)

    • We could be sisters! Holy scoloiosis, you sound just like me. Thank you so much for all the info and I will email you too! :)cc

  2. I work with a lot of injured runners. I am a former injured runner and running coach and personal traininer. A tight piriformis causes sciatic nerve impingement can be alleviated by consistent foam rolling in that area. Once it is loosened up, then focus on strengthening your hips (hamstrings and glutes). Most likely there is an imbalance. The core work is also great! Low back pain is related to the tight piriformis and glutes 🙂 It’s a chain of pain! So, be sure to 1) loosen the tightness 2) strengthen the weakness 3) ease back into running with walk/run intervals until there is no pain! Best of luck!

    • Thanks Coach E! And you hit the nail on the head, there is an imbalance. One leg is slightly shorter than the other due to the scoliosis and I hear you about the chain of pain, that’s exactly what it is. Right now I’m taking time off, foam rolling and icing but I am starting strength training on Friday. I’m crossing my fingers 🙂

      • Are you sure one leg is actually longer than the other? Or does it appear that way due to a crookedness of spine and pelvis? I used to be told my legs were different lengths when I was younger–but really it is my PELVIS that was rotating and causing the one leg to look shorter….We had to dig deeper to correct the problem! (And it’s still a work in progress….)

        • Technically, you’re right, the leg isn’t longer and it’s the way my spine is curved but without surgery it will always be that way. I do wear orthotics which help but when I get lazy and don’t do my stretching and strength training, I pay for it.

  3. I ended up with Achilles tendinitis, I think from too steep on the incline trainer. I wish I would have found the GSP Rush Fit workout before I bought a stationary bike. GSP is all about the core and I’m loving the results. And you can still run on certain days.

  4. Sorry to hear about your back problems. I don’t suffer from any of those ailments. But hay I just turned 50.. Thank god everyday I get to run. I know it’s a gift.

    Take Care!

    • 🙂 I’m definitely going to add it in to my routine when I get the all clear. I should know that since I have to let Boomer swim for exercise. He suffers from the worst case of arthritis and swimming is how we keep his weight down. I guess I’ll be swimming with him this summer! Maybe he’ll let me ride on his back like Hank does when I get tired, LOL

  5. Bummer…my hip has been cranky, too. I think maybe it is bursitis or tendonitis. I would love if you could share some of your favorite pre and post hip stretches. While you are not running, can you swim? I love to swim and it’s always so gentle on the body while giving you a full workout! Take care and keep us posted!!

    • Unfortunately, I cannot do anything with my legs for a few days but swimming is always good and I love to surf too 🙂 I am going to do a post on my stretches later in the week but I am working on photos so that I can actually illustrate them for everyone. I hope your hip is better soon. Let me know whow it’s going, okay?

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