Fitness & Equipment Guides > Can a Treadmill Cause Back Pain?

Can a Treadmill Cause Back Pain?

17th Jun 19

A treadmill is often at the forefront of many people’s minds for the best cardio equipment. It’s usually the pillar of cardio – it’s running, after all! Well, like any exercise, it’s not without its dangers. One of the most prominent risks of running is back pain, but how does a treadmill affect it?

We are, of course, advocates of the treadmill and exercise in general, but not so much that we’ll risk people’s health for it. Having said that, there are some things you need to know about a treadmill and back pain, and we’re here to give you the information you need to keep you up and running.

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Causes of Back Pain

First, it’s a good idea to look at what can cause a treadmill to give you back pain in the first place. It’s not the treadmill’s fault, and there are things that you need to know to keep yourself out of harm’s way in the first place if you wish to avoid it in the long run.


woman resting after over training

The first of these issues that can occur comes from over-exercising. It’s the same with any equipment you use, so it is essential to know how to protect yourself from it.

Over-exercising is easy, especially if you’re doing it from your home. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you have a proper workout routine. You always need to be doing what’s best for your body if you’re going to be successful in your training. This will keep you safe!

Bad Technique

woman with injured ankle after running on treadmill

Bad technique is another factor of a treadmill causing back pain. Believe it or not, running can have a wide array of methods. It’s affected by a lot of different things, but you need to nail yours to reduce risk.

Many people put more pressure on different parts of their feet when they run. Your foot will hit the ground first, so there is potential for you to be too extreme in your movements. That’s one of the easiest ways to strain your back, from muscles to nerves, and over time, it can have a detrimental effect. Be careful!

Underlying Issues

Finally, the biggest cause of back pain when running on a treadmill is having underlying conditions. You might not even know about them, but if you suffer from tight hamstrings, a trapped nerve or even just repetitive strain injury from something like work, you’re in danger.

Back problems are becoming more and more common in modern society. So even if you have a desk job and spend 8 hours a day at your desk, you are at risk.


So now that you know what the causes of common back issues from a treadmill are, the next thing you need to know is how to avoid them. It’s easily done if you know your stuff. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long run, and it’ll help you get the most out of your exercise!

Proper Shoes

One thing that often goes a little bit under the radar is using the correct running shoes. Everyone knows you need them, but there are several different types!

You need to make sure that your shoes are the right fit for you (pun intended) and for your step. Like we said above, depending on where your foot is touching the floor first results in where you need to most padding. So you really need to get the right ones for you and do your homework first!

Good Treadmill

Next up, the right treadmill is another complementary factor to the point above. You need to ensure that your treadmill is in a good state with the proper shock absorbers. That protects everything from your ankles to your neck, and it’s going to be the biggest player in the risks of a treadmill. It’s even better than outdoor running because of the protection the shock absorbers offer you!

Proper Technique

If your technique is one of the biggest causes of back issues, the solution is to correct it. But, first, do whatever you need to ensure that your form is spot on. Otherwise, you’re always at risk.

The ideal running technique varies from person to person, but make sure you aren’t slamming your feet, going too fast, or leaning upright or backwards. You need a slight forward tilt for the best results.

Recovery Time

woman stretching before and after running on treadmill

Last but not at all least, we have recovery time. The time you take to recover is often the difference between progress and injury. With strength training, it’s often 48 hours between workouts, but cardio isn’t always the same.

Depending on how you use your treadmill, you need to give yourself at least a day between hard workouts like running or sprinting. Walking, however, is something that you can do daily. Find a good balance and stick to it. Sometimes a day off is better than another workout.

Overall, it isn’t the treadmill that is causing you back pain. The facilities that a treadmill offers are often even better for your back than running outdoors because of the impact damage. Do what you need to keep yourself safe, and then you can really make the most of your workout. You might even enjoy it! Rest, recovery and precaution never go amiss in any exercise.

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.