Injury Prevention in Nordic Skiing: Lower Back Pain

Low back pain has been found to be more common in cross-country skiers, than non-athletic controls1.   Compared to skate skiing, low back pain is more prevalent in classic skiing because of the repetitive flexion-extension loading pattern of double poling. 

In addition to making sure your technique is sound, it is important to make sure you have adequate core abdominal, hip, and spinal extensor strength.  So make sure you incorporate proper core and hip strengthening in to your training.  Furthermore, improving hip flexibility has been shown to decrease the rate of low back pain in Nordic skiers2.  Hip flexor flexibility is especially important, so make sure to incorporate hip flexor stretching as part of your normal routine.

1Bahr R, Andersen SO, Løken S, Fossan B, Hansen T, Holme I. Low back pain among endurance athletes with and without specific back loading–a cross-sectionalsurvey of cross-country skiers, rowers, orienteerers, and nonathletic controls. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004; 29(4):449-54.

2Alricsson M, Werner S. The effect of pre-season dance training on physical indices and back pain in elite cross-country skiers: a prospective controlled intervention study. Br J Sports Med. 2004;38(2):148-53

See More Injury Prevention in Nordic Skiing: Technique

See More Injury Prevention in Nordic Skiing: Elbow & Shoulder Pain

See More Injury Prevention in Nordic Skiing: Knee Pain


Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS specializes in the rehabilitation and prevention of sports-related injuries, with a particular interest in the biomechanics of sporting activities – running, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and overhead athletics. He has published on the topic of shoulder biomechanics and the rehabilitation of knee injuries and has a strong commitment to educating others. Jason serves as a physical therapist for the US Snowboarding and US Freeskiing teams and is a frequent, well-received local and national presenter on the topics of sports rehabilitation and injury prevention. If you have specific questions about how to strengthen, restore, and get back on the slopes and trails, contact us at Excel Physical Therapy, 406.556.0562 in Bozeman, Montana or 406.284.4262 in Manhattan, Montana. #excelptmt