T Nation

Lower Back Demons

hey, hope everyones stong and healthy. its been 6 full days since i pulled my lower back muscle. i had encountered a similar episode last year, but that was a minor sprain i think. this time however, the pain was unlike anything i had ever experienced before. i hadnt deadlifted in a month, not heavy anyway, since i was on a fatloss cycle. my bodywieght is 78k, and im a little over 5’8 1/2. anyhoo, after setting my old PR of maxing out on DL at 405 lbs (last friday), i went for some seated cable rowing. the form i use requires me to sit as far back as possible in order to get a good stretch on the eccentric, stopping just short of lockout (im not sure though, that particular day my legs may have been locked out).

as i pulled the handle and released it to complete the first rep, seems i let go too fast and too far at the same time, felt a sharp pull in my lower back muscles, and the pain almost paralyzed me. for the next 24 hours, i had trouble shifting positions, i.e from sitting to standing and vice versa, the pain was enough to make me gasp for air. i iced it frequently for the first 48 hours, along with plenty of rest. the doc saw my x-ray and said it was only inflammation in one of the lower back ligaments. is that visible in an x-ray?

he gave me two NSAIDS; one with orphenadrine citrate/paracetamol (35/450 mg) and celecoxib(200 mg). after 6 hours or so, the pain started to ease a bit, and now its completely gone. however, my back feels stiff and sore everytime i try to raise and curl my leg (i.e putting on socks), or when im straining my gut on the jhonson, i can feel a tingling kind of sensation creeping up on my lower back, its not that painful though. it feels uncomfortable when i drive too.

my question is, am i getting a false sense of security owing to these anti-inflammatory drugs? is it safe to do exercises like pushups, crunches and calf raises upon waking, just to maintain strength levels? is it too early to engage in mild jogging and swimming? im sure you guys understand the frustration and mental anguish that comes with an injury, not being able to train and all. sorry for the lengthy post, the doctors in my region are complete ninkampoops/douchebags. theyd just take one look and toss a couple of drugs at you, or recommend some kind of cold or hot therapy. speaking of which, will i still benefit from icing at this stage, or does my back require hot therapy only? how much longer before i can get a green light to workout again. sorry again if my post is a bit lengthy, but id rather get advice and opinions from you guys, who in my opinion are by far more knowledgeable and experienced, so thanks for taking the time to read this, any kind of suggestions are welcome, take care y’all.

The sock & “straining on the johnson” sound like you might have a disc problem (bulge). Other signs, depending on severity:
Worst in the morning straight after rising.
First pee in the A.M. hurts your back (as does any other action that increases intra-abdominal pressure).

Possibly weakness in the leg or pain progressively working from low back through glute down outside of thigh reaching the calf if really severe.
Also if really severe you may have difficulty in raising your foot or big toe (due to interference with the sciatic nerve).

try and get a medical diagnosis preferably from a Physical Therapist. Do some research on sciatica / lumbar disc bulges.

Hope you recover soon,

wow, thanks for the input dan. fortunately, i have none of these symptoms at present. the ‘straining me guts at the jhonson’ issue is gone, i just went for a run yesterday, and everything is a-ok. there is no pain or soreness in the morning. my x-ray report turned out normal as well. seems, it was just a case of acute inflammation. rest and painkillers did the job, i should be ready to hit the gym in another week, playing it safe, thats all. thank you for the feedback though, have a good one.

Sounds exactly like what I got about 4 weeks ago. I went back and did light squats after a week and that set me back another 2 weeks for my troubles. Don’t rush it. I’d lay off squats and deads for at least 3 weeks, then start back very lightly.

I did squats again this week but only with a warmup weight, and I still had soreness in the lower back the next day, but I didn’t reinjure it. I’m gonna add deads next week but only with extremely light weight.

As soon as the soreness went down I started stretching the area, and I kept up whatever lifts I could without straining my back once I could walk again (after one day on drugs and rest.) Also, yeah I’d get off the meds now, you probably already have…

Been there. I have this theory that my core needs to be stronger. So I start my come-back with extra work on abs, obliques, erectors. Only after feeling no pain do I restart any form of squats or DLs. Seems to work for me. Anyone else do this?