How to Avoid Lower Back Impact on a Treadmill


Physical activity is essential for the health of your spine as well as your ability to facilitate the recovery of your back from injury. According to Dr. Peter Ullrich, Jr., a spine surgeon on the website Spine-Health, the natural inclination of people with lower back pain may be to avoid any activity because this can cause the pain to return. As a result, you can experience increased pain, stiffness and decreased flexibility that can impair other movements. Instead of total avoidance of activity, walking on a treadmill can provide individuals with back pain and back problems a cushioned surface that absorbs the impact that often comes from walking on pavement.

Invest in a high-quality pair of running or walking shoes. Although most treadmills provide a measure of cushioning that can absorb impact, wearing shoes fit properly and provide added cushioning can further reduce impact that can cause lower back pain. Dr. Ted Forcum, Director of the Back in Motion Sports Injuries Clinic in Beaverton, Ore., explains that wearing the right shoes decreases the impact on your lower back and reduces instability in your gait. This instability, he says, can cause increased lower back pain.

Evaluate the surface of the treadmill you will be using for your exercise. Use a treadmill that features a thick, durable, cushioned surface. Test out the treadmill before you determine that it's right for your workout.

Refrain from jogging or running on the treadmill. Jogging and running can be effective forms of exercise but they also cause a higher level of impact on your joints than walking. Walking, explains the website Spine-Health, can facilitate an aerobic workout with less risk of stress on your lower back. The website also recommends that in order to avoid lower back impact, you should choose a treadmill that has a surface that provides shock absorption. In addition, beginning with shorter periods of exercise of approximately 20 minutes without the treadmill having an incline can reduce the potential strain on your lower back.


Check with your physician before making any changes to your level of physical activity.