Can Walking On A Treadmill Cause Back Pain? 5 Truths You Should Know

Many people love walking on a treadmill due to its great benefits for physical and mental health. However, improper techniques when exercising on treadmills can backfire and hurt your muscles. 

The beginners hesitate to use the treadmills as they are afraid of injuries, especially back pains. 

So can walking on a treadmill cause back pain? The short answer is yes, but you can avoid or minimize it with proper techniques and workout methods. 

This post will shed more light on the side effects of treadmill workouts to help you practice with peace of mind. 

Can Walking On A Treadmill Cause Back Pain?

Yes. Walking on treadmills can result in lower back pain due to many reasons. There are some measures you can take to counter this problem. 

In general, treadmill workouts have many traits in common with walking or running outdoors on the streets. It is not particularly bad for your back.

In fact, walking on treadmills can absorb the shocks and minimize the detrimental impacts on your back.

Also, only a small percentage of users feel the pain in their back when exercising on treadmills. 

If you are experiencing back pains when walking on the treadmill, the problems may be with your physical condition, not the machine. 

The risks of you getting back pain depend on how you use the device and some other external factors. 

5 Causes Of Treadmill Lower Back Pain

Here are five common causes of lower back pain when walking on the treadmill to help you identify the problems and practice more effectively. 

Weak Body Physical Conditions

If your back hurts when running outdoors or walking on the treadmill, you may have weak abdominal muscles. 

This problem is caused by the low amount of connective tissue or calcium deficiency in your muscles and bones. 

Over the age of thirty, your joints will get weaker and susceptible to pressure generated by robust movements. As a result, your joints will cramp when stretching at high frequencies. 

Walking on the treadmills and doing similar exercises in the long term can lead to serious injuries to your spine and back. 

You should seek help from the doctor to have a more accurate diagnosis of your physical condition.  

Doctor diagnosis 

Doctor diagnosis 

Over Exercising

When your muscles are stressed too much, they will swell and become very sore even with little movements. If you try to push the limit, your muscles can get permanent damage and affect the kidney. 

You won’t have sufficient stamina and endurance to tolerate intense hours of walking on treadmills. The sore usually gets more severe after one or two days when you stop exercising. 

Your body needs time to adapt to robust exercises. Beginners should walk for short periods when they start using treadmills. 

Improper Techniques

Pay attention to the way you walk. Some popular mistakes beginners make are looking down or inclining the body forward when walking on treadmills. 

Another wrong technique is overstriding to increase your walking distance. These bad walking postures can hurt your neck, shoulder, and spine.

Many people hold the treadmill bars to stay balanced, but it will impair your body movements and arm motion. This bad habit also puts more pressure on your back and spine, which results in lower back pain.

Wrong body posture 

Wrong body posture 

Previous Injuries

Some minor accidents in the past, such as a fall, can weaken your muscles and cause joint dysfunction. In this case, you should consult the doctor to decide if your body can do the treadmill workouts. 


Some people have hyperlordosis when their spines curve too much. This special ailment is more common in people of higher ages that causes the stomach to thrust forward.

Hyperlordosis can be attributed to an idle lifestyle with too much sitting or weak core muscles. It can hurt your spine and lead to lower back pain when walking on the treadmill.

How To Avoid Back Pain Walking On A Treadmill?

If your physical conditions are unsuitable for exercising and intense movements, you should stop walking on the treadmill. However, you can adjust the wrong techniques to avoid lower back pain.

Use High-Quality Treadmills And Shoes

Bad equipment can lead to injuries and lower your productivity when working out. A good treadmill should have a smooth running surface to absorb the shock generated when walking. 

High-end treadmills can reduce the pressure taken on your joints and muscles to lower the risks of getting back pains. Avoid using treadmills with unstable frames which shake when you take strides. 

Besides, high-quality running shoes are also a good investment to consider. They bring a smoother walking experience and help improve your body posture.

Running shoes

Running shoes

Prepare Your Core

It is tempting to jump on the treadmills without warming up your body. A sudden change in moving frequency will hurt your muscles and joints.

Try simple exercises like planks or squats to stretch your muscles, especially the spine. After the warmup, start with slow velocities (under 10km/hour) and gradually build up the speed and walking distance. 

Take Breaks

Take a short break, about 5-10 minutes, to cool down your body and stabilize the heartbeat if you feel tired. This short time allows your muscles to recover and prepare for the upcoming exercises. 

Avoid Looking Down & Flexing Your Neck

If you want to watch something for relaxation, place the screen in front of the treadmill and align it with your eyes to keep your head straight.

Avoid holding the treadmill bars with your hands as it puts more pressure on your upper back and shoulders.

Cool Off

When you experience a sore back at some point, don’t instantly step off the machine and stop the workout. Slowly decrease the speed and take a light walk.

When you stop performing wrong techniques, your muscles will automatically correct themselves and make you feel much better. 

Final Thoughts

Strolling on a treadmill is a healthy exercise applicable for people of all ages. We hope the information provided in this post can help you avoid back pain when walking on the treadmill. Thank you for reading!

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