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After many months of counting calories and not loosing a lot of weight, I began running. I did the Couch to 5K program, and as an ex very fat person as well as an ex-smoker, running 5K is just something I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE ABLE TO DO. And I did it! I'd been running 30 minutes a day, and secretly hoping to complete my first official 5k in June. It doesn't seem like such a big deal, especially since I have a few marathon runner friends, but for me, it was huge.
So, last thursday I ran 4.8k in about 30 minutes, and then did a pilates class at the gym. My back was a bit sore after, and by the next day I was pretty much immobilized. I could barely pick up my 20 pound daughter, and even walking too far was out of the question. I'd had sciatic problems in the past, but this by far has been the worst. After a few days of anti-inflamatories and muscle relaxers, I'm finally starting to feel a bit better.
However, weight loss has now been tied to running in my mind (because it works!) and I'm itching to get back into it. However, being a stay at home mom with a husband who's often away for work, I can't really afford to be in pain to the point that I can't lift my kid onto her change table. So, while I'm itching to get back into it, I'm also really scared.
Any suggestions? Is running on a treadmill easier on the back? Like I said, I've had sciatic problems in the past (especially when I was pregnant) and so has much of my family. Not really sure where to go from here, but I'd love any input I can get!!!
the treadmill is definitely a softer surface. I've heard it described as being easier on the joints, but never specifically the back. My advice, if you aren't going to seek professional advice, is to test your limits and find what works and what doesn't work for you. If pilates hurt your back, then don't do that. If running hurts your back, like wise. There are dozens of ways to lose weight and exercise.
I don't know much about Sciatica, but if you focus on losing weight, strenthening your core, and light running, maybe things will improve for you?
My guess is that it isn't the running that hurt your back. You said you've been doing it for a few weeks now, did it bother you before?
If I had to put money on it, it's the pilates class, not the running.
I started running on a treadmill, and now I'm transitioning to pavement. I definitely find the treadmill to be easier, even when i set it on a 2-3% incline. I can run an hour on the treadmill (about 6 miles) and I'm just now up to 3 miles on the pavement.
The treadmill does seem to give me some impact relief, but I also have a pretty high end treadmill with an air ride.
My first few times on the pavement I did have some lower back pain, but it wasn't extreme, I never had to worry about anything like that on the treadmill, so if it's a constant problem, a treadmill may benefit you, but it's no where as fun as being outside!
When it comes to your back, if it hurts, don't do it!! You might start out with brisk walking and see how that feels first. The treadmill is definitly a more forgiving surface so you could try it. I have a lot of back issues and have to be really careful of what I do and make modifications as needed. I would lay off the pilates and work on core strength with things like planks, pushups, bird dogs, etc when your back is up to it. Don't do crunches/sit ups as these are bad for the back. They put too much load on the spine.
I had chronic sciatica for a long time. When it flared up, I was miserable.
Two things have changed my life and made me almost entirely pain free - lifting heavy weights (it's a relative term) and doing dynamic stretches specifically targeted at my hips and glutes also foam rolling. I am a new person. My core strength is through the roof in comparison to what it was.
If you are interested I would say to do some research and start slow, but definitely wait until you feel you are back to normal before undertaking anything new. If you are interested in specific websites or resources, PM me.
As for the running, I agree with the previous posters - start slow and try the treadmill because it is a softer more forgiving surface. You could also try running on a track rather than on a sidewalk or road.
Thanks all so much for the replies! I really wanted some reassurance that the treadmill would be easier on my back, before I even attempted it! Like stargazer said, I think the doubling it up with the pilates might have done it for me (there was a lot of crunches and "rolling up like a ball." So, now that I'm finally feeling (mostly) better, I'm heading back to the gym tomorrow. I intend to not push myself too hard at first, but holy cow, am I looking forward to burning some calories!
Thanks again, all of you, for the responses! So appreciated!!!
Seriously? Why would you recommend such an intense program to someone who suffers from back problems? My guess TLDR
Seconded. In running, the abs are mostly postural. In pilates, they're subject to active use beyond anything sensible.