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Deadlift Lead to Low Back Pain


So 2 weeks ago I tried to go a little too heavy on deads, ended up screwing up my lower back. Came back, foam rolled it, finished that week up with low weights and then took the next week off. End of that week, felt great, no pain. Came back, did a warm up set on deads, and it flared up. So at this point I can't do squats, deads, or anything that requires me to bend at the hips. Is there anything I can do, besides rest, that would speed up the process and prevent something like this from happening again? I don't think it's my form. The pain is localized above my right cheek.


Sounds like a disc problem. Got any shooting pain down your leg ever? It is localized, so that's good. Try statically holding a prone cobra exercise(passive back extension using your arms while lying on your stomach) for a minute and see if the pain decreases. If so, disc problem. Also, does bending forward exacerbate the pain or make the symptoms spread anywhere else?


no there's no pain anywhere else, which makes me think its just strained/sprained. Bending forward does make the pain worse, but it doesnt spread. And the prone cobra doesnt really do anything


ok well, turns out I have a herniated disc. Doc told me to lay off heavy lifting for a while to see if it heals up on its own. Anyone know how long I have to wait till I can start back up who has had this?


ok well, turns out I have a herniated disc. Doc told me to lay off heavy lifting for a while to see if it heals up on its own. Anyone know how long I have to wait till I can start back up?


Did you get an MRI to confirm the herniated disc? If not, what lead the physician to believe it is a herniation? Placed on any meds? Prescribed any rehab?


No MRI, he did a couple of physical exercises and asked me where and how it hurt and asked how had I injured it. He didn't prescribe anything and just told me that it wasn't anything major, but I should lay off the heavy lifting while it heals.


What type of physician did you see, general practitioner or orthopedic? What type of physical exam did he do and did he say why he thought it was a disc? Do you have any weakness into either of your lower extremities? If you don't have any radiating pain or weakness, I am questionable of a disc pathology diagnosis. Even with an MRI, people with absolutely no symptoms will show a disc bulge in an MRI, which is why a physician/therapist needs to treat the patient not the MRI/imaging.


What type of physician did you see, general practitioner or orthopedic? What physical tests did he do? Any weakness in either of your lower extremities? Without radiating pain or weakness in your lower extremities, I'd highly questions a disc pathology diagnosis. Many people walk around with a mild bulge or a degenerative disc that show up on an MRI but they don't have any symptoms. This is why doctors and therapists need to treat the patient symptoms and not MRI's and imaging.

In the end, lighten the weights for major lift that involve the lower extremity and work on some additional lumbar stability exercises, hip mobility drills, and glute activation exercises.


It was general practitioner. He mostly had me move limbs, bend at the waist/hips/lower back/upper back, basically just a lot of moving around. I had pain in my left glute and random numbness in my left leg which is why he thought it might be a herniated disc. But I guess since I wasn't in pain for some of the things he had me do, he figured it wasnt terribly serious and would heal up on its own.

Thanks for the tips, right now I'm just doing a lot of hyperextensions, glute bridges, bringing up core strength, and a ton of foam rolling. There anything else you would recommend?


Just look into all around hip mobility, look at thoracic mobility as well, and just be sure to engage all of the core musculature to maintain a neutral lumbar spine.


It sounds like a disc injury. They take on the order of months to heal. No nutrients or supps speed this healing IMO. Walking is good.

Your deadlift form, though, almost certainly DID cause the injury. Injuries to discs happen with compression under load. With deadlifts, you have the load. You need to avoid the compression. You can feel as if your back is arched or neutral during the entire lift, yet have a short moment of flexion nonetheless. That's all it takes.


It's weird, at this point my spine feels fine, its pain over my left buttock thats the problem now. Unless it's just really disc related. I've never had an injury of this magnitude before, so I'm kinda lost on how to work around this.


General practitioner. Hah! May as well see a witch doctor.

First off, this injury is common when you deadlift........ if your form sucks. Been there, done that a few times. Could barely get out of bed. I will bet a George Washington that you let the bar drift out from your body, changing your center of balance and putting all the strain on your lower back, where it should never be.

If you don't have a copy, go buy or get Starting Strength by Rippetoe. You can read it while you recover. All sorts of great deadlift info there.

Use ice packs a few times a day to reduce inflammation. Rest it. Go for walks. Massage, preferably by a Victoria's Secret model but you mom will do as well.

It will come right, be patient. You will definitely have mental issues with lifting for a short while but you gotta get back on the horse, just don't gallop first off, ease into it and keep your form strict, dragging that bar up your shins.


Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by McGill is a good one too.


Appreciate the info, def plan on really tightening up my form after this injury. It's been playing hell with my training schedule.


This is what I've been using, mostly cause Eric Cressey recommended it in one of his articles.


I find it strange (looking at it from my point of view) that people talk about herniated disc on here as if its not that big of a deal. I've been injured since February and have been in severe pain since then. I havnt deadlifted or squatted since then. Are people actually able to do these things like they did before with damage to the disc? It doesn seem like mine ever gets better even coming up on a year after the injury.


Kenshin88, how severe was your disc bulge? When level was it at? What types of treatment have you gone through?

Each person responds differently to disc issues - some will resolve quicker than others. The quality and mode of treatment can drastically alter recovery time as well. I have had some athletes return from disc issues within 2 months, others have taken over a year.


I'm not sure how severed the bulge is or even if that is truly the problem. I havnt got an MRI yet but have an appointment Monday to get one.

I went to a sports doc when it first happened back in February and he put me on meds and told me to rest. He thought it was just a strain. Then a few months later I started going to the Chiro for about a month and then ran out of money. Other then that, not much else. Was hoping it would just heal on its on. Guess not.