For some, the chilly fall weather doesn’t deter them from getting in their run for the day. While running promotes better health, it can be hard on your back and joints. Many runners suffer from back pain and/or joint discomfort as a consequence of their run, so here are four things to investigate to find post-run back pain relief.

1. Your Shoes May Be the CulpritBack Pain From Jogging

Back pain can be a symptom worn down shoes. Even if a jogging shoe may look like it hasn’t taken much of a beating during your runs, structurally the shoes may be breaking down. Shoes should be replaced every 6 months to a year depending on your activity level.

It may sound obvious, but make sure the shoes you buy are meant for jogging. Unlike other types of shoes like cross-trainers, jogging shoes usually have extra padding and support. The padding absorbs more force and the support helps align your joints on each step, saving your feet and the rest of the body from excessive wear during a long run.

2. Jogging on a Hard Surface

Shin splints, stress fractures, and back pain are just a couple symptoms that jogging on pavement can cause. Instead, try to run on a surface that has some give. Running on a soft track will provide a soft, even surface for you to run on. For those who want to see nature while jogging, hit the trails and enjoy the view. Just be sure to be careful on the trail’s uneven surface and look out for obstacles.

3. Incorrect Running Form

Jogging form is extremely important to protect yourself from back pain. Make sure you’re not landing on your heels on each stride. Striking the ground on your heel can jar your hips and spine. Instead, you want to land mid-foot where energy can be distributed more evenly.

Along with watching how you land on each stride, your body may also not be aligned directly above the feet. You should not be leaning forward while you run. Check that your hips, trunk and shoulders are all aligned so that you don’t create pressure points in your back and put yourself at risk for injury.

If you are unsure about your form, ask a friend or expert to watch you while you run. They should be able to tell you if your form is good.

4. Not Inverting

Inversion can help prevent back injury while jogging. One reason for many joggers experiencing back pain is because their spines are out of alignment from the rest of the body. Inversion is a natural way to elongate your spine and relieve muscle tension. These actions encourage the realignment of the spine so that the entire spine is absorbing force instead of certain points receiving most of the force, causing back discomfort.

Along with spine realignment, inversion will help the soft tissue in your spinal discs rehydrate. This increases the volume of each disc so that they become like shock absorbers on your cars to absorb the pressure caused by running long distances.

Follow these steps, and find the ones that have the most impact for you. With them, you may greatly decrease your back pain from running. Don’t let back pain sideline you from running your way to better health.