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Running and Osteoarthritis Spine

csbccsb Posts: 4
edited 03/11/2015 - 6:46 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Hi all,

I'm looking for runners with spinal osteoarthritis.

There's some great information and relevant posts on this site about running and lower back issues, but I'm still utterly lost.

Obviously, common sense would tell you that any form of high impact exercise would not be a good idea. I've read about trying something else, but I'm not a fan of the stationery bike, or elliptical machines.

I should say that my doctor said I could run (lightly) which did surprise me. When I do run - I feel better, my back does feel uncomfortable initially, but passes.

My worry is what will happen if I keep running? Does anybody have an experience of this. Perhaps they've been running with a similar problem for much longer than me.

Thanks in advance...



  • Hello. I'm a runner (I was a serious runner/competitive marathoner all of my life). I'm now 68 and still running, but have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my lumbar spine. I am currently getting cortisone injections 2-3 times a year. I wasn't told to stop running, but just the normal aging process and the discomfort from the arthritis now has me at about 20 miles a week. I'm totally happy with that, as I do other things (Pilates, weightlifting, XC skiing, etc.). Staying active has been the key. I do most of my running on good trails here in Central Oregon, and I think it makes a difference. If I run 6 miles on the roads, I think I notice a difference in how my low back feels afterwards. I occasionally take Advil, and if my back seems like some of the muscles are in spasm, I may take a more serious anti inflammatory, but very seldom. Some days my lower back feels pretty good; other days it's sore and it's harder to start off on my run.

    I think Pilates really, really helps my back. I've been doing it for many years. It strengthens your core and makes you more aware of using your core muscles to move you and hold you up, as opposed to using your back muscles. Having a strong core and an awareness of your body is essential for good back health. I don't have osteoarthritis anywhere else in my body that I'm aware of. I'm at peace with the running I can do. Even if I didn't have this lumbar situation, I'd be slowing down anyway. There aren't any people at this age running fast. I consider it a real gift that I'm able to run at all. As a young runner/colleague told me about 5 years ago, "You had your day." Since I've been running since I've been 21, and am now 68, it's part of who I am and I am a much healthier and happier person being able to get some miles each week. Oh what I wouldn't give to have a week in my 35-year-old body, hammering out 70 miles, feeling no discomfort at all.

    I'm curious how other aging runners are handling this diagnosis. Still running? Surgery?
  • Couldn't agree more with Hardball on the core strengthening. I have also found that the Newton style of running does help with shock on my spine. I am not completely proficient but do focus on a slightly forward stance, fore/midfoot strike, shortened stride, and higher turnover. I feel a significant difference that a longer, stride with heel strike.

    Something to think about and not for everyone.
    C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013
  • Hi there
    I have just been diagnosed today with it and im 10 weeks out from running my first marathon so of course the first thing i did was google can i still run with osteoarthritis in my llower back. To say im devastated st age 46 is an understatement as i am a total exercise junkie, i box, do Mixed martial arts Muay Thai, jujitsu, cardio classes and weights as well as running. Do now all i can see is a life time of degenerative back problems. To hear i can stillrun is encouraging as i too find it gets easier as i run but im always stiff at the start.
    Good to know im not alone but am also keen on advice.
    Cheers Lisa
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    edited 04/28/2015 - 3:42 AM
    that could be helpful:

    Arithtis Health

    • - Types of Arthritis
      - Living with Arthritis
      - Treatments
      - Surgery
      - Videos
      - and more

    • - Articles about all types of sports related injuries.
      - Section dealing with common running injuries
      - Treatments for various sport injuries
      - Videos
      - And more
    Its great to hear how other members have dealt with running while they have Ankylosing Spondylitis, and perhaps other Arthritis joint problems. But always remember what is good and ok for one person, may not be ok for another. So before you start in with any type of exercise program, run it by your doctor first. And when it comes to a running style, again, make sure your doctor understands what you want to do and that they approve it, or have other suggestions.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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