T Nation

Deadlift Injury Now Prevents Back Squatting


About 8 months ago I did a workout with a body building trainer who insisted I break my form and round my lower back on a light set of straight-legged deadlifts after 10 other back exercises, each having around 3 sets. My back was already toast at that point, but I didn't feel any pain while completing the sets with the back rounding to get the last couple reps.

I expected my back to be sore for the next week, but it went numb that night. I felt no muscle soreness in my back, but was unable to lean even slightly forward without falling over for the next four days.

The next time I tried squatting, the normal weight that I warm up with felt hard. It didn't hurt to do it, but I felt like I was doing three times the amount of weight that I was. I wasn't able to do a normal working weight. That night, my back seized up and I could barely roll over in bed without wanting to cry like a little girl. The next time I tried squatting, I wasn't able to even get the warm-up weight and felt my back starting to seize.

I haven't been able to do a back squat, even with very light weight, since then. All lifting caused me major back pain afterwards, even though it wouldn't hurt at all while I was doing it.

I took a couple months off, did some endurance work, and am now trying to build my body back. The endurance work seems to have solved the back-pain-after-workout issue. Also, stretching my hamstrings helps a lot.

Interestingly, I can deadlift nearly as much as I used to and also front squat, but I can't even do 1/4th of the weight that I used to be able to back squat. Nothing except the back squat gives me pain.

I don't have insurance or money to go to a doctor. Has anyone had this issue before? Why can I deadlift and front squat but not back squat?

One other important piece of information: I also struggle with even body weight on back extensions for a set of 15 now.

It sucks being this pathetic.


I take it no one's ever heard of anything like this?

Wouldn't surprise me. I've talked to many people about it and they pretend they know what's up until they hear the part about the numbness. Evenso, I'd really appreciate input.


Really it is a shot in the dark without a physical eval of you, but I'd venture to guess with the numbness either a disc pathology or stenosis of the spine. Can't be certain of either without seeing a physician, which you state you can't do. Just keep doing what doesn't hurt you, work on improving/maintaining mobility of the t-spine hips and ankles, stability of the lumbar spine, and don't do rounded back deadlifts anymore :slight_smile:


Obviously I'm not planning on doing rounded-back deadlifts again :slight_smile: I worked out on my own with good form for two years before this happened and never experienced anything like this. Kind of ironic that three sessions with a trainer after two years on my own and now I'm damaged.

Is there a certain type of doctor I should go to for having this looked at? Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but it seems like you hear about general doctors misdiagnosing this sort of thing all the time.


Whichever doctor you go see, just do some research before seeing him/her. Make sure they have experience with athletes/lifters. But i'd recommend going to see an orthopedic physician, preferable one with a spine speciality.