Hurt Back...Need Advice

OK, so for the last 6 weeks my back has been feeling just exhausted after deadlifting. I can pull up to 515 conventional, no belt. So about 3 weeks ago I decided to deload and only pull up to 450 at most. Didn’t really help but I kept deadlifting.

Two weeks ago my back started hurting in the lower left (ironically after an off day), felt sort of like a muscle pull, at the very top of my left glute/very bottom of my lower back. When I twist to my left with my torso, it hurts, but if I keep doing it, it goes away. It’ll come back after a few minutes if I twist again though. Same with bending over. If I left my left leg, keeping the knee unbent, so the leg is straight, the higher it gets the more I feel a pain/tugging in my lower back. It doesn’t hurt during any other exercises, weights in everything else haven’t suffered. Oh, and when I sit in a chair…holy crap does it feel sore/painful. I’ve been foam rolling, lacrosse balling, stretching, etc. It doesn’t hurt when I do any other exercises.

So last Tuesday I wanted to give my back a rest, and tried hex-bar (trap-bar) deadlifting with 315. I figured I’d do sets of 20 or 30; I got 4. My whole lower back now, other than the spine hurt. I tried another set and got to 10, but same thing, lower back on both sides felt knotted up. As the week went by it felt better and better though, and today only the lower left was a tiny bit sore, and after stretching it felt fine. I deadlifted 135, 225, 315 all without pain. Figured I’d do one set with 405. Went to pick it up and could barely move it, got 4" off the floor and my whole lower back cramped, and felt like it was paralyzed. Friend got a foam roller and I rolled it, then tried 315…couldn’t even move it. Same with 225, hurt less, but couldn’t pull it. Tried 135 and got it. Sitting down now my back hurts, is cramped, stiff, and sore. Walking around is the same, laying down is the same. What the hell do I do? I have 7 days til deadlifting day comes again. Should I take a break from DL’ing for a while? It’s my favorite exercise and I feel like a pussy taking time off for a back pull that will probably feel 90% better again by this coming week.


  1. I am not a licensed professional but i have been dealing with back pain for a few years. Back pain from a car accident.

  2. You will get this advice sooner or later so i might as well get it over with. GO see a professional. You only have one back dude.

  3. Generally i wouldn’t stretch the lower back much at all. especially after a recent injury.

  4. If the spine doesn’t hurt that is good news and you can hopefully make 100% recovery, but you can still do damage so be careful.

  5. If it’s a minor injury that is so recent i would lay off the stretching and foam rolling for a while, until it feels more stiff and sore rather than painful. You need to give it a break and work on other factor instead that you can work without directly stressing your back. You can maybe work on some leg and hip mobility and foam roll the IT bands etc. But you don’t have to.

  6. If you can work your legs without hurting your back that is GREAT news, because total rest is maybe not good for more than a few weeks.

  7. For the pain i highly recommend ice. Ice it plenty and especially since it’s so recent. It’s better than painkillers. (don’t ice before training tho)

It sound similar to my experience so you might want’ to check if you have to much anterior pelvic tilt. That was a contributing factor for me. But when you can do Planks without pain your’e in a good place because they help a lot!

Relax about loosing training time, you might even increase your lift by focusing on getting stronger on assistance lifts. Just to a lot of backraises (if they don’t hurt and you don’t heyperextend) and planks.
Rest it, and after 1-3 weeks start training again but don’t do anything painful.

Man, this sounds like exactly something I go through from time to time. Like it’ll hurt me to bend over and pick up laundry but I can rack pull, squat, and leg press as heavy as my heart desires.

I just lather the tight area with icy hot and then with pressure from both hands, I dig the top of my wrist into the trouble area and give myself a deep tissue massage…if that makes sense. I could upload a video of me doign it if you’d like…lol.

Your back will probably feel 90% better by the end of the week, then you will deadlift again and guess what, your back will become sore again. Best just to forget about that session and give your back a week or two to recover. Best to not rush it, nothing worse than an injury that niggles for months on end because you didn’t want to lay off deadlifts for a couple of weeks. Besides you said you can still do other exercises anyways…

Feeling a tugging in your lower back when lifting your leg straight really isn’t a great sign and coupled with the fact it hurts while sitting may suggest there could be a minor disc involvement. However as your muscles are so so tight lets just hope thats whats causing the pain.

Treatment for you includes the aformentioned foam rolling and trigger pointing, watch your posture (no slouching), and lay off the deadlifting until you can lift without that cramping pain.

Yeah you could have something going on, but it’s your call whether or not to see someone about it. Probably not the worst idea ever as there could be a whole lot contributing that you are not aware off. Examples would include: muscle imbalances or restrictions, technique fault, stiff joints, poor activation ie glutes etc etc


How is the back?

I registered just to reply to this post.

Dude. . .you have a disc injury–probably L5S1 bulge to the lower left–this is exactly what I have. The more you lift the worse it will get. I screwed my back up doing what you are doing now–trying to train through the pain. Get an MRI, stop training immediately.

When you start reading online forums about all the back surgeries gone wrong with people depressed and in immense pain from spinal fusions etc., you will start to have greater respect for the body telling you it’s hurt. Don’t screw up your life. Almost guarantee that in 5 years this will be the piece of advice that you remember as “should have taken”.

I have a bulging disc I ignored for years and kept re-injuring it. I can’t train legs, do shoulder press, or anything serious like squatting. I maintain a decent physique by listening carefully to my body and when I am overdoing it it tells me immediately. Haven’t pulled my back out badly in 1.5 years and pretty ecstatic about that.

Listen to this advice. . .seriously. . .

While it is true that he could have disc injury it is not certain. So don’t panic. But yeah, get an MRI. You only have one back.

The fact that the pain doesn’t radiate down the legs tells me it probably isn’t a severe disc injury, but even if it was you can still recover if you are young and strong. I myself had disc injury with radiating pain down both my legs and i have made almost full recovery, i can now pull 400 pounds in the deadlift painfree so that’s something.

Bottom line:
Get an MRI
See a professional
Don’t loose hope.