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Author Topic: VFFs causing back pain?  (Read 1297 times)
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envirogirl48
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« on: August 08, 2012, 11:13:33 AM »

Hello!

I've been a VFF user since I was 17--and I'm now 20. I love them, and they completely changed my life. I run every day, and I haven't really had a break in over a year. But I've been running (pun intended) into some issues lately that I need help with. I have really bad lower back pain, and I'm not sure if this is a result from the VFF's and too much running or something else. I know that they are supposed to help with back pain, but has anyone heard about them causing back pain?

Thank you!
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« on: August 08, 2012, 11:13:33 AM »

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PB Junkie
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 02:16:29 PM »

I've been a VFF user since I was 17--and I'm now 20. I love them, and they completely changed my life. I run every day, and I haven't really had a break in over a year. But I've been running (pun intended) into some issues lately that I need help with. I have really bad lower back pain, and I'm not sure if this is a result from the VFF's and too much running or something else. I know that they are supposed to help with back pain, but has anyone heard about them causing back pain?

I don't think the VFFs have anything to do with it. Are you doing any core and/or ab work?  My suggestion is to take a day or two off from running and if you aren't already, improve your core strength.
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DrBig74
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 02:37:51 PM »

Ditto on core strengthening.  Pilates works wonders for core strengthening (must get the erector spinae strengthened) as does yoga, and I also send many people to see a real Chiropractor (just in case they have a vertebral subluxation).  Make sure to find someone that is an upper cervical specialist (even though you are discussing lower back pain, since torque is a big issue with upper to lower back transference).  I choose graduates from either Palmer or Parker College since they have been the best in my own personal experience.  aside from this, and not seeing you personally, I would look at form.  I am so surprised at how much difference is made by a correct change in form.
I hope this helps, and I wish you the best of health!
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Be well!

DrBig74
skye97
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 08:09:43 PM »

I've had similar issues...I started running and generally being a lot more active around the same time that I began wearing VFFs, about 2.5 years ago, and I started getting really bad low back pain about a year ago.  The issue for me was (well, IS - I'm still struggling with it) increased tension in various hip muscles thanks to the increased exercise, which in turn exacerbated some imbalances that were already present.  I've been to a lot of body workers and therapists and am still trying to figure out exactly what's going on.  While core strength is a good thing, you can definitely overdo it, so I'd be really cautious about what sort of exercise you choose.  Even pilates can be dangerous, so if you try that make sure you find an excellent teacher.

A couple of other things - one thing that aggravates my back pain is running while I'm having menstrual cramps.  While it helps my cramps and mood in the short term, my sacrum is just too out of whack during that time of the month.  Also, I just took a class on low back and sacrum stability, and the instructor suggested that most, if not all, chronic low back pain (this excludes acute injuries) stem from emotional issues, so maybe take a look at your stress level as well.

Anyway, good luck finding something that works for you!
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 08:09:43 PM »

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DrBig74
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 12:01:19 AM »

I agree with finding a great Pilates instructor, but in anything, there can be excess.  Drinking too much water is not good for you, too much wine, too many pain pills, too many reps, etc.....
Clinically, I would urge you to find a great Chiropractor in you area.  Many health care insurance companies are starting to filter patients through Chiropractors , due to the fact that they fix so much stuff in-office, that many other pay outs to other Physicians are eliminated.  If the body is in alignment, strong enough in key areas like core strength, and we have good form, then the body will optimally function.  I see this almost everyday, aside from the ubiquitous diet arguments.

I've had similar issues...I started running and generally being a lot more active around the same time that I began wearing VFFs, about 2.5 years ago, and I started getting really bad low back pain about a year ago.  The issue for me was (well, IS - I'm still struggling with it) increased tension in various hip muscles thanks to the increased exercise, which in turn exacerbated some imbalances that were already present.  I've been to a lot of body workers and therapists and am still trying to figure out exactly what's going on.  While core strength is a good thing, you can definitely overdo it, so I'd be really cautious about what sort of exercise you choose.  Even pilates can be dangerous, so if you try that make sure you find an excellent teacher.

A couple of other things - one thing that aggravates my back pain is running while I'm having menstrual cramps.  While it helps my cramps and mood in the short term, my sacrum is just too out of whack during that time of the month.  Also, I just took a class on low back and sacrum stability, and the instructor suggested that most, if not all, chronic low back pain (this excludes acute injuries) stem from emotional issues, so maybe take a look at your stress level as well.

Anyway, good luck finding something that works for you!
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Be well!

DrBig74
Sablewings
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 10:32:43 AM »

Just an uninformed opinion here, but your issue might be from too much running, rather than specifically from your VFF's, especially as you mention you have been running a lot (or a lot more) since wearing minimal shoes. Running has quite a high impact on the joints, especially so if your form is off, or you are coming down too hard on your feet. If you're not sure you could always seek advice from a minimal/barefoot running coach to check your form.

Seeing as you are already in pain, might be good to switch to a different type of exercise for a few weeks - say swimming - to see if the pain lessens or goes away, or some yoga. You could also choose to run less and gradually build up some core strength exercises.
 
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/abdominalcorestrength1/a/NewCore.htm

It is definitely worth checking with your doctor or a back specialist, especially if you make some changes in exercise routine and the pain persists - e.g is it related to your monthlies, have you had a check up on your womb recently? Also, back pain can also be caused by stress, or even in some cases a kidney or bladder infection, (as one of my poor friends discovered.) If in doubt about anything, please check it out.

On a side note - has anybody wondered whether a lifetime of wearing regular stiff shoes with a raised heel (however slight) may cause the body to adapt in ways that once you try wearing other types of shoes, problems actually spring up due to a change in accustomed posture?

Most of us here started wearing VFF's in adulthood, and wearing them has definitely brought up a mixed bag with the responses. For me it was a trade-off - my knee and back problems have much improved, (I used to have near constant lower backache) but now I get localised foot pain caused by Morton's Toe and pressure on my second metatarsals every time I walk more than a mile or two.   Roll Eyes I'm experimenting with putting tape under my first metatarsal - even a tiny change such as putting two millimetres of material under one toe joint causes a whole spate of aches from my toes, to my hips, my back and neck, and causes changes to my gait. These aches go away after a few days, but still, that such a fractional adjustment has a knock-on effect makes me wonder how drastically our whole bodies adapt to having shod, minimally shod, and then unshod feet.
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equiraptor
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 01:59:02 PM »

Ditto on core strengthening.  Pilates works wonders for core strengthening (must get the erector spinae strengthened) as does yoga, and

Posture correction when I started Pilates completely eliminated my lower back pain. My experience is just one person's experience, but I provide it in support of DrBig74's posts. Smiley
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envirogirl48
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 07:47:55 PM »

Thanks for the advice everyone. I've cut down on my running and started to swim, and that seems to help a lot. I do core strengthening exercises, but I don't think that is linked to to the lower back issues. Time will tell how things turn out! Thanks again for all the input.
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