If you experience back pain when walking on treadmill, you are not alone. Many people experience this type of pain, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.

Often, back pain when walking on a treadmill is due to poor posture or incorrect form. It is important to maintain good posture and form when walking on a treadmill.

There are a few things that you can do to help reduce the risk of back pain when walking on a treadmill.

Why Does My Back Hurt From Walking On The Treadmill?

why does my back hurt from walking on the treadmill

Running on a treadmill can cause back pain for many reasons.

Lack of speed and incline variance can lead to the overuse of specific muscles or tendons.

The repetitive impact from the same movement can cause joint damage.

Running on the treadmill in different patterns can cause hip extension, especially if you run a lot on the road.

A treadmill’s incline can increase the forward lean of runners, which can put more strain on specific muscles and passive structures in the back, such as the ligaments.

Running enthusiasts who are used to running on roads may feel back pain when using a treadmill. This is because the load is not what they’re used to.

Possible Causes of Lower Back Pain When Walking On Treadmill

Running on a treadmill can cause back pain. Understanding the root cause could be the first step in finding relief.

Here are five conditions that can cause lower back pain when running on a treadmill. One or more of these conditions may be experienced by runners, while others may present simultaneously.

Weak Back

The problem is not just in the back.

Many runners feel lower back pain due to weakness in their abdominal muscles.

Combining abdominal weakness and back pain can make it challenging to control muscle movement as a runner. This can lead to back pain and stress on the spine.

Tight Trigger Points

Most runners will experience cramping at some point. This happens when there is too much stress on the muscles.

Trigger points can be created by cramming, which tightens the muscle. These trigger points are difficult to release and can cause severe pain.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The Sacroiliac joint can be found on either side, just above the buttocks.

Sacroiliac dysfunction is when runners place more weight on one side of their feet than on the other, putting more strain on the joint. This can lead to inflammation and pain.

Irritated Facet Joint

If your abdominal muscles are weak or if there is a larger hole in your lower back, your facet joints may become inflamed when you run on a treadmill. The facet joint can also become painfully inflamed, just like the sacroiliac joints.

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Hyperlordosis refers to a type of poor posture marked by a large curve in the spine at the lower back.

Hyperlordosis is a condition where your back meets the wall. This condition is often treated with exercises and stretches.

Even if you have a good posture, runners can use a treadmill to run in poor posture, which can cause lower back pain.

Your lower back muscles will need to work harder if you run on the treadmill, lean forward or hunched over it. These muscles can become overworked and cause pain.


Over thirty-year-olds are more susceptible to certain diseases and other problems than they may realize. They may not find it most convenient to start an activity, no matter how strenuous. They may experience back pain quickly if they start exercising or cardio. Walking on a treadmill can cause back pain.

Vertebral Column Issues

People with strained back pulled muscle or other injuries to their spine that make it difficult for them to bear pressure on the vertebral column or walk on an inclined plane will have disastrous results. They should avoid walking on a treadmill as it isn’t the best form of exercise.

Diagnose and Treatment of Low Back Pain Caused By Treadmill

treadmill bad for back

After determining the root cause of your pain, a personalized treatment plan can be created to help you return to your regular running activities pain-free.


First, seek out a professional to diagnose you. A physical therapist is often the best way to get a diagnosis.

A PRO~PT physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of new patients to determine the source and cause of their pain. After a thorough examination, the PT has the necessary knowledge to develop a treatment plan.

If a patient’s condition is not within the scope of our physical therapy, we will refer them to an orthopedic or primary care physician who can provide the necessary care.


The following may be considered for treatment:

  • Take a break when you feel the pain while running is more than 4.
  • If the pain scale is lower than 4, you can back off by increasing your running intensity by 10-20%
  • Strength-building and stretching exercises at home or in the PT Office

Our PROPT physical therapists will discuss the following when putting together a treatment program:

  • Running requires load management.
  • How to make your running program more successful
  • How to incorporate strength training into your running program
  • How to navigate treatment so that you can run through the treatment phase

Are your knees affected by the treadmill? Read our post for more information: Are Treadmills Bad For Your Knees?

5 Techniques To Stop Back Pain When Running/Walking On Treadmill

Avoid Leaning Forward

When using the treadmill, it is common to lean forward significantly when increasing the incline.

We use our smartphones to read or watch programs while using the treadmill. It can become tedious, primarily if used for longer than a few minutes.

You’re soon rounding your shoulders and back before you know it.

When using the treadmill, keep your back straight. Refrain from looking forward or down when using the treadmill.

You can lean forward slightly when increasing the incline. However, you should still keep your back straight. Mirrors are often found in gyms and can be used to check your posture.

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Avoid Looking Down and Flexing Your Neck

I read a lot during cardio, and it’s challenging to maintain a neck-back position while looking down.

Now, I listen to audiobooks while doing cardio. I keep my eyes open and neutral. If it were a quick warm-up, I would use my kindle.

Remember that the direction of your eyes will determine your posture. When you look down, your neck will flex, and your upper back will round. Your lower back will also flex.

Use The Incline to Take a Break

Your body may feel tired if you have chronic muscle tension. Take a moment to stop on the treadmill and catch your breath. Then, sip water and check your posture before returning to the treadmill.

Your body will need a short break to rest and recuperate. These short breaks have helped me achieve practical cardio sessions without putting my body through discomfort or tension.

The incline will challenge your body. It can cause sciatica or lower back pain.

Keep your spine straight, especially when you are on an inclined slope.

Engage Your Core

If you experience lower back or upper back pain when you use the treadmill or during a workout, I recommend that you spend some time activating your transverse abdominis and your glutes.

You can also use this time to practice diaphragmatic breathing, which will keep your core engaged.

Breathe in. Now, squeeze your belly and hold it. Then, release your breath. The core brace should be removed after a few seconds. You can then go back to the beginning within a minute.

Walking or running is a good way to strengthen your core muscles. This will help protect your spine and make it more resilient.

Get your Glutes in a Squeeze!

When running or walking, make sure your glutes are working.

The Gluteus maximus is the strongest muscle in your body. If it isn’t working correctly, your hips will become tight quickly. The surrounding muscles will compensate.

Squeezing your glutes while walking is a quick way to ensure that they are engaged. Squeeze your glutes every time you extend your leg.

These techniques will ensure you aren’t flexing your spine, which can transfer more pressure to the lower back.

To avoid pain, here are some routines that you can do before and after using the treadmill.

These can be used anywhere, including walking, hiking, climbing up and down hills, and even on the treadmill.

You don’t have to stop doing what you love. You can still enjoy cardio and do so while adjusting to your limitations.

These tips will help you to have a great time with it.

Check out our post to know How To Properly Run On A Treadmill.

Five Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain While Running on a Treadmill

1. Get a Quality Treadmill

Consider the following specifications when choosing a treadmill:

Horsepower – A treadmill should have a motor that produces at least 1.5 continuous-duty horsepower. A treadmill with a CDH between 2.5 and 3.0 might be better if you are a frequent runner.

Belt length – A treadmill should have a belt at least 48 inches and 18 inches in width. A treadmill with a 54-inch belt is recommended for runners who are over 6 feet tall.

Inclination – A treadmill should allow at least a 10% incline. You can also get a better experience running outside with a decline feature.

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Control panel – A high-quality treadmill will come with a simple control panel that is easy to reach and use.

Cushioning – You should choose a treadmill that can absorb shocks and not move with each step.

Speed – A treadmill that can go up to 10 mph is recommended if you are using it primarily for running.

Stability – A treadmill should have a sturdy frame that doesn’t move when you run or walk.

Find the best treadmill for home on market, check out our post: Best home treadmill

2. Strength Training and Stretching Are Essential

Stretching and strength training are vital elements preventing lower back pain while running on a treadmill.

Here are some exercises and stretches that can help.

Always follow your PT’s instructions and do the exercises and stretches that are recommended for you.


  • Stretch according to your MDT preference (McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy). The PROMPT PTs will help you determine your MDT preference and suggest the appropriate stretches.
  • Lower back pain can be relieved by stretching the cobra and knees to the chest.
  • You should consider hip flexor, and side-to-side hip stretches.
  • Calf runner stretches (gastrocnemius stretching) should be part of the runner’s daily routine.

Strength Training

  • Planks
  • Squats (be sure to align your knees)
  • Clamshells with weight around the knee and good form
  • Posterior glute exercises

3. Choose the Right Shoes

Choose the Right Shoes

Shoes that are priced and stylish are not the only factors you should consider when choosing the right shoes for running. Consider your running style and the material of the shoe.

These are the key aspects to consider when evaluating a runner.

  • Foot type – high, low, normal arch
  • Gait – Overpronation or mild overpronation; neutral or under-pronation (supination).
  • Running routines – high intensity and long-distance versus low power and short distance.

Each part of the shoe should be evaluated (some examples).

  • Upper – The upper should fit the foot and be free from binding or chafing.
  • Ankle Collar – Avoid shoes that irritate your Achilles tendon or slip on your ankle.
  • Toe box – Look for shoes that allow your foot to move naturally and flex.

A specialty running shop can help you find the right running shoe.

They can assess your running ability, help you select the right shoe for you, and test your stability.

4. Tune Your Running Form

A trainer or another qualified professional can help you improve your form.

A trainer can help you with the following:

  • Posture
  • Warm-ups and extended warm-ups
  • Technique
  • Speed

5. Visit A Physical Therapist

A physical therapist has the knowledge and expertise to help you relieve pain and keep you moving without pain.

Read also: How To Lose Weight On Treadmill?


Back pain is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. Walking on a treadmill is one potential cause of back pain. Hope that this article can help you prevent lower back pain when running on a treadmill. Also, treat the pain with our advice.

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