Sunday, 1 June 2014

Running can be a pain in the… coccyx?

Whether you are running quick or slow, when it comes to volume and long distances, things will get painful. It takes a long while for the body to get used to such abuses and the parts of your body which are more likely to gave up are the small neglected ones,  which you are not even aware existed in first place.

Last year I was making good progress but after a long run I woke up with a dull pain at my groin that felt like if I had over split my legs… It was something I have never experienced before, to the point that I did not instantly associated with the running. Sometime later in the day I started feeling my lower back and this time it was proper pain which lasted and put me off running for almost a month. I did a bit of research and it was quick to associate these two with too much running and not that much preparation.

The thing is, your legs might be feeling fine, you may be feeling fresh, but there are so many smaller components that support the body machine that unless you take a progressive and cautious approach, you are likely to fuck yourself. My pain memory seems to be very short, and a few months later, after another long run, I woke up with a weird pain on my coccyx. A dull pain that I have never felt before… Bit of research and there you have…

Most of the time such pain is caused by tight hip musculature like hip flexors, psoas muscles and generally poor core strength. Until this day I have never even heard of something called psoas, this hidden long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column.

What to do?

When in pain, the main advice is ice and rollover the area: get a tennis ball (to start with) and roll out your glutes. When it hurts, sit tight until (your eyes tear up) it releases.  Repeat often. When you find a tennis ball manageable, progress to a harder ball.  Try running on grass for a while to lesson the impact and if its not better in a week or so see a specialist.

Preventing it

Train wise. Start to add regular stretching and exercises to open up the hip area, hamstrings, and the whole psoas muscles. Key one is the Piriformis stretch: lie on your back, and flex the right hip and knee. Now, while grasping the right knee with your left hand, pull the knee towards your left shoulder. This adducts and flexes the hip. In this position, grasp just above the right ankle with the right hand, and rotate the ankle outwards. This applies internal rotation to the hip and completes the stretch. Another way to do this stretch is to stand on your left foot and place the right foot on a chair, such that the right knee and hip are flexed at about 90 degrees. Now, using the right hand, press the right knee across towards the left side of the body while keeping the ball of the right foot on the same spot on the chair.

Bellow are a few more exercises that I have incorporated to my routine to prevent not only this but a whole series of other easily avoidable issues. A few minutes of your time that might help you save weeks away from training. 

Few more Psoas Streches

Hip Stretches


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