Treadmill Back Pain – What Can Be the Cause and How to Prevent It?

The treadmill is one of the most favored and used machines when it comes to exercising because it is a great way of doing cardio. It pumps up your heartbeat and keeps the blood flow going. However, some people experience a not-so-great experience while using this equipment.

Running on a treadmill can be a source of back pain if done in the wrong way. Note that the treadmill isn’t the direct contributor to your back pain. Actually, using a treadmill is usually better for your back than running outdoors due to the shock absorption. The condition entirely depends on how you use it, and many other factors also lead up to this widely experienced discomfort.

Causes of Back Pain

figure back pain

Back pain is common with running on a treadmill and can be because of various factors. These include the following:


Exercising beyond what your body can tolerate can be extremely dangerous for you. Pushing your body beyond its capacity can cause problems such as back pain, leg pain, etc. Due to the lack of speed and incline variance, the repetitive impact of the same movement several times may cause you to damage your muscle groups without even realizing it. It happens the most with people who are either new to exercising or without a trainer’s consultation. They usually end up straining their muscles, leading to back pain.

Wrong Technique

Another main issue that can cause long-term ailment to certain muscles is using the wrong technique while exercising. Back pain may accompany running on a treadmill mostly because of applying the wrong technique. For example, some people hold the treadmill bars of a treadmill while walking or running on it. They don’t realize that this has detrimental effect as they are putting more pressure on their upper back muscles by doing so. This makes the upper back stiff and ache badly.

Furthermore, some people have the habit to lean forward or have their body hunched while walking on a treadmill. The pressure, in this case, lies directly on the lower back muscles eventually, straining them, due to which you might experience lower back pain.

Other Issues in the Background

Another reason for back problems while using a treadmill is the presence of some undetected and underlying issues present in the person’s body. Some of them can be:


People above the age of thirty are prone to diseases and problems of which they might not be aware. It may not be the most favorable for them to begin an activity no matter how straining it is. When they take up exercising, cardio, to be specific, they may suffer afflictions such as back pain very quickly. This can be a factor resulting in back pain while walking on a treadmill.

Weak joints

If a person has weak knee joints and they start running on a treadmill every day, it won’t be long before they have to visit a doctor. Weak joints can be caused by the decline of connective tissue in the joints or less calcium intake leading up to weak bones. Putting more stress on weak joints can cause dislocation and difficulty in movement.

Issues in the Vertebral Column

For people who have a strained back or a pulled muscle along their spine and cannot bear pressure on their vertebral column, walking on an inclined plane or putting pressure on their back will end in unfortunate results. For them, walking on a treadmill isn’t the most favorable form of workout, and they should refrain from doing it.

Prevention of Back Pain – Back Pain Relief

Back pain caused by using the treadmill can be prevented by taking a few precautionary measures and making some lifestyle and behavioral changes. Some of the most effective preventive measures which you can undertake are as follows:

Good Running Shoes for Your Running Routine

Running Shoes

As they say: ‘Investment is the key to a bright future,’ and we highly agree with it. Investing in some good-quality gear and a pair of running shoes will take your exercising game up quite a few notches. If you run with a shoe that doesn’t support running or isn’t made for this purpose, it will directly damage your feet and risk your physical health.

If you invest in a high-standard shoe with foot padding, it will be way softer on your feet and make treadmill running easy and fun. The top of your foot is the first thing that touches the treadmill, and it has a direct impact on your body. So, you must make it very comfortable for your sake. Therefore, for the prevention of back pain, invest in good running shoes.

A Quality Treadmill

NordicTrack T Series Treadmills

Like an artist needs the correct tools and brushes to make a masterpiece, you need good-quality equipment for working out. A treadmill is a great source of getting your cardio in for the day. For those who work out every day, it should be a great investment for them.

A good treadmill has great shock absorbers. So, when you run on a good-quality treadmill with high shock absorption, it will reduce stress on your joints as compared to when you run on a hard surface such as gravel or concrete. Therefore, having a good-quality treadmill can prevent back pain or any other sort of pain you might experience from exercising.

Good Running Technique and Posture

No doubt that a good-quality treadmill and shoes can contribute to a better cardio experience but preventing back pain mainly lies in how you run and on your posture. For example, poor posture during treadmill use leads to cause back pain, and a bad running technique and the lack of good posture is a direct route to body pains.

As mentioned earlier, some people hold the sidebars of a treadmill while running or walking, causing pressure on their upper back muscles. Some people lean backward while walking, putting a strain on their lower back muscles. Therefore, good walking or running posture is extremely necessary, especially while using a treadmill.

Recovery from an Earlier Injury

Those who have suffered from an injury earlier should deeply focus on this point. If you went through an accident or an unfortunate event that caused you any sort of physical harm, you should consult a doctor or physical therapist before hopping on a treadmill, doing strength training, lifting weights, or any other form of physical exertion.

This is because if your body has still not recovered from previous trauma, then exercising those muscles will only worsen the pain and injury. It may lead to more damage and long-term injury. Some people might not be aware of their internal injuries or tissue damage. Taking up heavy forms of exercise or running a mile on a treadmill will worsen that internal injury.

Therefore, before starting any exercise, consult your doctor to do a thorough evaluation, and complete your treatment so you can fully heal your body and then begin your exercise journey.

Warm-Up and Cool Down

Most of us like to directly hop on a treadmill on a higher setting and start working out to an extreme. They don’t realize that by doing this, they are setting themselves up to various sorts of pain. Many trainers recommend starting off your workout by doing a light exercise or jog or any sort of warm-up. This will relax your stiff muscles and make them active for the upcoming exertion.

Before running on a treadmill, start by brisk walking on a lower setting and slowly build up your stamina rather than jumping into a high-intensity run. Similarly, allow your body to cool down and steady your heartbeat before doing anything else. Your muscles get fatigued after physical exertion, so you need to relax them and find relief before doing something else.


A treadmill is a great outlet for cardio to achieve your fitness goals and is better than outdoor running in the sense that its shock absorber provides more protection. But it can be a pain if not done right. Before using any sort of gym equipment, consult a doctor or physical therapist and a certified fitness trainer who can lead you in the right direction health-wise and recommend the right quality and type of shoes and equipment fit for you. This will not only prevent unnecessary body pains, but it will also help you achieve your exercise goals in no time.

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