Why Does My Back Hurt When I Workout?

Do you experience back pain when you workout? Find out why this might be happening and what you can do about it.


Exercising or working out can usually improve the health of your body and its muscular strength, but problems can arise when those workouts become too physically demanding. If you are experiencing back pain after a workout, it is important to first identify the underlying cause. It may be due to improper form when lifting weights, negligence of stretching before and after workout or a strain on your muscles from overexertion. Back pain can also result from an underlying medical condition such as a herniated disk or arthritis. A basic understanding of the anatomy of the spinal column, along with safe exercising practices, is essential for preventing back injury during physical activity.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is a common exercise-related problem, and there can be a variety of reasons why your back is hurting after a workout. From improper form to weak muscles, there can be many underlying causes of back pain. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of back pain so you can take the necessary steps to prevent or reduce the pain.

Poor posture

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. Poor posture can lead to long-term pain and even serious injury. Poor posture while sitting, standing, or lifting heavy objects can put strain on your spine, which can result in tension and fatigue. Improving your posture will reduce the likelihood of developing strains and injuries in the back muscles and joints, as well as alleviating existing discomfort. To ensure good posture, it is important to ensure that your head and neck are positioned correctly when standing upright. Make sure to keep your chin parallel to the floor and maintain an upright position with relaxed shoulders. Make sure you are aware of how your body is positioned throughout the day to ensure that you are not placing unnecessary strain on your spine by overextending yourself. Furthermore, try setting reminders on your phone or computer to remind yourself of proper posture when sitting at a desk or engaging in extended activities such as driving or working at a computer station for long periods of time.

Weak core muscles

One common cause of back pain, especially when working out, is weak core muscles. Core muscles play a vital role in providing a stable base and protection for the spine. Poor core stability can contribute to muscle imbalances that can lead to misalignment of the pelvis and lower back. When this happens, it can cause pain or injury during exercise or day-to-day activities.

Weaknesses in the core muscles can lead to overcompensation by other muscles of the body, causing them to become tighter and overworked. This imbalance often results in chronic tightness and tension that contribute to low back pain during workouts or daily activities. A lack of strength in the core area may also cause an overload on other parts of the body leading to further injuries and discomfort.

Some common causes of weak core muscles are poor posture, an inactive lifestyle, improper form when working out and insufficient recovery time following exercise. Strengthening the core area through regular exercise such as Pilates, yoga or other types of resistance training is important to improve strength, balance and flexibility while reducing stress on surrounding connective tissue including ligaments and tendons that provide support for the spine.

Overuse of the back muscles

Overexertion of the back muscles is one of the most common causes of back pain when exercising. When you work out, your muscles become fatigued and ache as they stretch and contract, which can cause discomfort or pain in the lower back. If you overuse them, meaning you push yourself too hard and don’t give your body enough time to recover between sets or workouts, your muscles may become tight, sore, and even injured.

Repetitive motions like cardio machines or lifting weights can also put strain on your back’s muscles if done improperly. Proper posture is key to avoiding injury—bend from the knees instead of from the waist when lifting heavy objects, stand up straight with good posture when walking or running on a treadmill—but many people simply don’t know how to exercise correctly. Make sure that you are using correct form for all exercises in order to protect yourself from potential injury. Additionally, it’s a good idea to take breaks between sets as this will give your body time to rest before moving onto the next exercise. Doing so will reduce strain on your lower back muscles and help you avoid injury-related pain.

Prevention Strategies

Working out can be great for your body, but it can also cause some aches and pains that you weren’t expecting. One of the most common issues is back pain. If you experience back pain when you work out, there are a few things that you can do to prevent it in the future. In this article, we will discuss the causes of back pain while working out and some prevention strategies.

Warm up before exercise

Before you begin an exercise routine, it is important to warm up your muscles. This will help to reduce muscle tension, increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Warming up also increases blood flow and helps to gradually raise your heart rate in preparation for exercise. A few minutes of light aerobic activity such as jogging or cycling can help you warm up prior to compliance with any exercise program. When doing back exercises, focus on areas that have been tightly bound and practice healthy body mechanics during execution of exercises or stretches to provide proper support for the spine.

Strengthen core muscles

A strong core can help protect your back while you are exercising and improve your posture, which is essential to reducing back pain. This can be accomplished through a variety of exercises such as planks, side bridges, core rotations, and core exercises with weights or bands. It is important to consult with a doctor or trained physical therapist if you feel any pain while doing these exercises in order to avoid further injury. Many workout programs such as yoga and Pilates incorporate different core strengthening routines that can help prevent injury and provide relief from chronic discomfort. Additionally, not ignoring any type of pain present in the lower back area during physical activity will help reduce the chance of an exacerbation of an existing condition or onset of injury.

Practice proper form

Practicing proper form when you’re working out is essential for avoiding injury – not only for your back, but for all the muscles and joints in your body. Improper form can put unnecessary strain on the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the back and spine, leading to pain and discomfort. To ensure that you practice good form, make sure to keep these things in mind:

-Maintain a neutral alignment throughout movements– imagine a straight line between your ears, shoulders and hips
-Keep your abdominals engaged– this will help to protect your spine while you move
-Breathe consistently– shallow breaths can add extra stress to your spine
-Focus on using slow and controlled movements– hasty movements can be dangerous
-Reduce excessive heel strike during running or cardio exercises – this can cause undue impact and wear on the spine
-Gently stretch after each workout session– loosening up tense muscles will reduce tightness in the back

Treatment Options

If you’ve recently started working out and find your back hurting during and/or after your workout, it is important to try to identify the cause. Causes of back pain during and after exercise can range from simply poor form to more serious medical conditions, such as a herniated disc. This article will discuss some possible treatments for back pain related to exercise.

Rest and ice

One of the first steps for treating low-back pain is rest, which gives the muscles around your spine the time necessary to heal. When you experience back pain during or shortly after exercising, in particular, it’s important to take a break and give your body time to recover. During this time, it can also be beneficial to apply an ice pack or cold compress directly to the affected area. Cold therapy is known to reduce inflammation and numb any painful sensations in the muscles surrounding your spine. In most cases, these simple treatments can significantly ease your discomfort within a few days and allow you to gradually return to exercise with fewer risks of aggravating your condition.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a significant non-surgical treatment option for musculoskeletal pain. When it comes to back pain, physical therapy can help reduce inflammation, tension and discomfort. A trained physical therapist will create an individualized plan of care that may include massage, gentle stretching, exercises to strengthen the core and spine, posture instruction and stretching programs. Physical therapists have specialized training in assessing body mechanics and some offer biofeedback — which can assist with understanding and retraining proper movement patterns. Many physical therapists also use modalities such as iontophoresis or electrical stimulation to help reduce pain. These treatments rely on the application of electrical current through a special device that is placed on the skin directly over the area of pain. Physical therapists are knowledgeable about medical conditions that can cause back pain such as scoliosis or herniated discs, so if necessary they can refer a patient for further evaluation or testing by a physician.


Medication may be used to help relieve the acute symptoms of low back pain and often includes medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or opioids. NSAIDs reduce inflammation within the muscles and thus can help to reduce pain. Additionally, long-term use of oral steroids, such as prednisone, may be prescribed for more severe cases. Due to their side effects, these medications should only be used when other treatments are not appropriate or in conjunction with other forms of treatment.

Although they are often utilized in the short term to temporarily treat pain and discomfort from an injury, muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine can also provide longer term relief when combined with physical therapy regimens. Opioid pain relievers are generally reserved for severe levels of low back pain for which other approaches have not proven successful in providing sufficient relief. In most cases, a combination of medication and physical therapy is utilized in order to provide the most effective management of lower back pain symptoms.


In conclusion, it is important to consult a physician if you experience back pain after exercising. Depending on the individual, the cause of back pain can be due to poor technique, lack of core strength and stability, lack of proper stretching, or an underlying medical condition. Talking to your doctor is the best way to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain so you can begin treatment and prevent reoccurring episodes.

If your back pain is related to muscular issues, a massage therapist or physical therapist may recommend different treatment options such as Trigger Point Therapy and Active Release Technique (ART). A qualified trainer can also give you advice on safe workout techniques and help create a customized exercise plan that works best with your body’s strengths and limitations. Finally, making sure that you’re properly hydrated and eating healthy will make workout sessions more comfortable for everyone.

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