Back Pain, Neck Pain, And Treadmill Exercise

Despite providing the comfort of doing a workout from home, treadmills can cause pain to your back and neck. Read on to know how you can effectively do treadmill workouts for back and neck pain.

In the US, 80% of people are likely to suffer from back pain anytime in their lives. And 20% to 70% experience neck pain that makes it difficult to perform regular chores. There are many reasons, one of them being the treadmill. But, to better understand the topic, let's start from the basics and see why your back and neck even hurt.

In this article, we have discussed the treadmill workout for neck and back pain. The treadmill can help back and neck pain, but it can also induce it. It all depends on the technique, the level of inclination, and, most importantly, your posture. Incorrect posture results in pain and injuries while running/walking on a treadmill. The strain added to the neck and back muscles can be avoided by following the correct procedure to perform an effective cardio workout.

Why Do Your Back and Neck Hurt?

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One of the biggest culprits in causing back and neck pain is our incorrect posture. Let me explain. You would have noticed many times that excessive use of cell phones causes your back and neck to hurt. Here is the reason:

We spend most of the time looking down on our screens. Right? Even you are reading this article on the screen of your cell phone. It puts pressure on your neck, equivalent to 60 times the weight your neck can handle in an upright position. This added pressure results in neck and back pain. It was an example of incorrect posture in our daily life.

The second reason is strenuous activity. When you perform any physical activity for a longer duration that involves shoulder and neck muscles, it causes your muscles to become strained. It results in a stiff neck.

Some diseases and conditions, like osteoarthritis and disc herniation, can also be the reason for neck and back pain.

How Does the Treadmill Help Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain?

Treadmill training serves as an aerobic or cardiovascular workout at home. It lowers the risk of obesity and keeps your body in shape.

But the advantages of the treadmill don't end here. It also helps in the management of pain. For example, an article published in the European Spine Journal found out the moderate physical activity of walking may help people with acute low back pain.

Walking improves blood circulation in different body parts. It speeds up the supply of nutrients and eliminates waste and toxic metabolites from the body. In addition, it decreases the soreness of affected muscles (neck) and encourages movement.

Another published piece of research mentioned the release of endorphins during aerobic activity.

Endorphins are natural chemical substances produced by the central nervous system (CNS). It binds with opiate receptors in the body, shows analgesic activity (block pain), and boosts pleasure. So, yes, the treadmill reduces pain perceptions if used effectively.

How Does the Treadmill Cause Neck Pain?

Workout on treadmills is proven beneficial for maintaining weight, cardiovascular health, and much more. But if not used correctly, you can do more harm to yourself than good. For example, many people experience neck pain while walking on the treadmill.

The reason is poor posture. Here are some common posture mistakes that can result in neck pain:

Incorrect position of the shoulder

When we usually run, our posture is perfectly aligned. But when walking on a treadmill, your shoulder blade rises above, and your neck is forced down. It puts strain on the muscles of the neck and shoulder. It's one of the reasons you experience neck pain.

Looking down

Many people fear falling while running on a treadmill. So it's natural to look down at your feet. And we also stare down to check the distance and calories. Then, finally, we often look down to adjust the settings.

While working out on the treadmill, looking down puts a strain on your neck that results in pain.

Tech neck

Tech neck is defined as the neck soreness that results from improper posture while using devices, such as mobile, laptop, etc. Walking on a treadmill provides stability to the position, so many people multitask, such as texting and watching their favorite show. It results in looking too high or too low, a weak posture, that is one of the neck pain causes.

Why Do People Experience Back Pain After Running on a Treadmill?

Many people complain of back pain from walking on a treadmill. Here are some of the possible causes:

Excess activity

Sometimes, excess exercise damages your muscles without you even realizing it. It puts strain on the muscles in your legs and lowers back. Over exercise results in stretching and tearing tendons and ligaments in the lower back. It's the reason you experience lower back pain after running on a treadmill.

Improper posture

Upper back pain after running on a treadmill can result from improper posture. For example, many people hold the bar of a treadmill. It results in burning fewer calories and puts pressure on your upper back muscles. This extra pressure results in backache.

Few people have a habit of leaning down while running. But, unfortunately, it puts strain on the lower back muscles, resulting in back pain.

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How to Avoid Neck Pain, Lower and Upper Back Pain While Walking/ Running on a Treadmill?

Here are some of the tips to avoid neck, lower and upper back pain:


Warming up before any workout helps your body to prepare. In addition, it results in increased blood circulation and oxygen supply to muscles, which decreases soreness and the risk of injury.

It also improves flexibility and efficiency by raising muscle temperature. Warming up also slows down heart rate, thus decreasing stress on your heart.

Maintain proper posture

You already know that pain while working out on the treadmill is mainly due to the wrong posture. So, knowing your posture is very important for an efficient workout.

Keep your posture erect, don't lean forward. For example, keep your head up and your shoulders back while running on a treadmill.

Avoid looking down

You can keep your phone and newspapers away while working out on a treadmill. Instead, you can watch television at eye level or listen to podcasts or music.

Adjust your machinery

Make your machinery ergonomically fit for you. Otherwise, it can force your shoulders out of alignment, causing neck and upper back pain. In addition, the incline is challenging to set in non-motorized treadmills compared to motorized treadmills.

It's essential to consider this point when shopping for a treadmill. Sole treadmill f80 is our favorite equipment based on its adjustable incline and robust motor.

Take breaks when using the incline

If you are experiencing chronic muscular tension, you should take breaks between workouts. Your body is likely to be exhausted during the prolonged incline workout.

It can cause sciatica and lower back pain. Walking with sciatica can be highly problematic.

Breaks will help your body recover and restore, resulting in practical cardio sessions. Utilizing breaks for exercising diaphragmatic breathing will help your core muscles protect the spine from injury. Your core will carry the load instead of the spine.


1. Can I do a treadmill with a neck sprain?

A neck sprain involves stretching and tearing of ligaments and tendons in your neck. It results in limited motion and flexibility.

High impact cardiovascular exercise, such as running or jogging on a treadmill, can hurt your neck instead of healing it. Therefore, you must ask your physical therapist before doing any workout.

2. Should I ride a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill?

Well, it depends on your needs. For example, a treadmill helps you burn down more calories, but it can put you at the risk of injury.

A stationary bike burns fewer calories but provides more strengthening. As a result, it has a lower risk of injury, unlike treadmills.

3. Is doing the treadmill every day terrible?

Yes, you can use the treadmill every day, but correct technique and posture are critical to a powerful cardio workout. In addition, working out on the treadmill helps lose weight by burning down extra calories.

4. Can I work out if I have neck pain?

One of the ways to ease neck pain is to exercise. Most neck pain exercises increase mobility and flexibility. In fact, many strength exercises help treat neck pain. But remember to consult your therapist before doing any workout.

End Note

In this article, we have discussed the treadmill workout for neck and back pain. The treadmill can help back and neck pain, but it can also induce it. It all depends on the technique, the level of inclination, and, most importantly, your posture. Incorrect posture results in pain and injuries while running/walking on a treadmill. The strain added to the neck and back muscles can be avoided by following the correct procedure to perform an effective cardio workout.

About the Author Erik Brown

"Erik Brown" is the health and fitness author for He works with a team of committed experts to create detailed reviews and informative articles about health and fitness. For instance, he covers various fitness-related topics especially on workout equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes and more. If you want to make a wise decision when buying any training equipment, check out more of his unbiased articles."

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