We commonly think of injuries to legs, hips, knees, and feet as “running injuries” and consider back pain, not a running injury, per se, but a nuisance that interferes with our running. However, back pain can often come quickly after bending or lifting the wrong way or running too far before warming up. For instance, running involves repetitive stress and impact on the back, sometimes for a long duration.
Whether you are a runner or someone who has a physically active lifestyle, back pain can trouble you. Typically, the initial recourse is to apply conservative treatments such as pain relievers and ice when you feel back pain. If these do not work and back pain worsens that it begins to interfere with your daily activities, have a spine surgeon evaluate your condition.
It is highly likely that the spine surgeon will recommend steroid injections as a next-level treatment that often has a positive effect in eliminating or reducing pain.
What Causes Runner’s Back Pain?
Knowing what causes back pain will surely help adjust running frequency, intensity, duration, and style to heal quickly. Common causes of runner’s back pain include:
- Facet Joint Irritation – The spine’s vertebrae are connected to each other by discs at the front and joints at the back. Running causes jamming or compaction of these joints, especially when running in swayback style – a forward tilt to the pelvis –leading to pain.
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction – Two joints sitting on either side of the lowest part of the back above the buttock area are called the sacroiliac joints. Running while landing harder on one foot than the other puts excessive pressure through one of the sacroiliac joints resulting in irritation of joint, pain, and inflammation.
- Weak Back – As the name suggests, it is the weakness of the lower back muscles and abdominal muscle that creates global vulnerability in the lower back. As you tire through a run, muscles cannot control movement causing excessive stress on the spine and pain as a consequence.
How do Steroid Injections For Back Pain Work?
Steroid injection is, typically, a combination of various medications. A common combination is the steroidal drug cortisone and a numbing drug with action similar to procaine.
While the numbing medicine insensate the back, cortisone binds its receptor, inhibits pro-inflammatory signals, and promotes anti-inflammatory signals. As a result, inflammation is reduced, and pain is relieved.
A significant advantage of cortisone injection is that the pain-relieving effect of the numbing drug is immediate, whereas the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect of the steroidal drug can last up to several months, depending on how much time your body takes to metabolize steroid, which is usually a long time. Considering the limit on the number of steroid injections over a year, a spine surgeon prescribes another method of treatment when the effect of steroids starts to wane.
What To Expect from Steroid Injections for Runner’s Back Pain
You will certainly be grateful if steroid injections work, but they do not provide a long-term cure for back pain. As cortisone shots do not address the underlying problem and months down the road, you will end in the same pain gradually as if you never got a shot.
Steroid injections are instrumental in helping you heal faster when used along with individualized recommendations from spine surgeons and physical therapy.
Steroids Injections Near Me in Rochester Hills, Badaxe, and Royal Oak, Michigan
Whether you are a runner or someone who has always had back pain, consult our skilled spine specialist to know if steroid injections are right for you. Our spine surgeon at Ahlgren Spine has over 25 years of experience treating a wide range of spine conditions, including back pain. Our spine surgeon will work closely with our licensed physical therapists to help you get back to doing things you enjoy.