T Nation

Lower Back Pain and Glute Knots

I have been having re-occurring lower back pain on my lower left side off and on for about half a year. I had two doctors tell me that I had strained a muscle and provided drugs. One doctor gave me a prescription for physical therapy and suggested prolo therapy if that didn’t work.

I took a month off from working out, and the pain went away, so I didn’t go to physical therapy. I also started utilizing dynamic stretching before and after every workout.

Now, I started working out again, and any exercise involving glute activation ends up triggering back pain a couple hours after I work out. I figured it was using weights, so I did lunges without weights, and the pain still came up.

Within the last week, I discovered very tight knots in my upper left glutes. And I have been using a combination of foam rolling and tennis balls to reduce the knots. The knots are still there, but the pain is going away.

Anybody else have similar problems?

I don’t have exactly what you have, but when I don’t train I have aches and pains from old injuries. I also have a lot of scar tissue in the lower back from surgery performed there 12 years ago. For me, I use active recovery techniques along with deep tissue massage from time to time. You may have “cluster balls” in the muscle tissues that need to be broken up and a qualified massage therapist with strong hands and fingers can go in there and mash them.

Be warned, it doesn’t feel good. Two to three days after you will feel a difference if that is what your issue is. What you have going on could be a number of things and it could only be answered by looking at your training log, your form when you lift and a lot questions being asked of you.

check if you have tight hipflexors.

[quote]tweaker wrote:
I have been having re-occurring lower back pain on my lower left side off and on for about half a year. I had two doctors tell me that I had strained a muscle and provided drugs. One doctor gave me a prescription for physical therapy and suggested prolo therapy if that didn’t work.

I took a month off from working out, and the pain went away, so I didn’t go to physical therapy. I also started utilizing dynamic stretching before and after every workout.

Now, I started working out again, and any exercise involving glute activation ends up triggering back pain a couple hours after I work out. I figured it was using weights, so I did lunges without weights, and the pain still came up.

Within the last week, I discovered very tight knots in my upper left glutes. And I have been using a combination of foam rolling and tennis balls to reduce the knots. The knots are still there, but the pain is going away.

Anybody else have similar problems?
[/quote]

I had a VERY similar problem. I did the roller/ball thing too. It helped with the pain and tightness, but the knots are still there, but not as big. Alot of people will reccomend ART (active release technique) for problems like that. If there is not a practitioner near you I guess any good myofascial release would be worth a try. Mine has improved signifigantly. I roll 4-5 times a week. I don’t know how long you have been at it, but keep it up, it can’t hurt.

i did not have the knots in the glutes, but had lower back pain, and even threw my back out at work just by bending over, out for a few days. lower back pain was on and off for years.

I made an appt. to see Eric Cressey and he fixed me right up. i do glute activation stuff and hip mobility stuff before working out and no more pain. i also do foam roller and lacrosse ball stuff. haven’t felt this good in years.

[quote]michaelmr wrote:
i did not have the knots in the glutes, but had lower back pain, and even threw my back out at work just by bending over, out for a few days. lower back pain was on and off for years.

I made an appt. to see Eric Cressey and he fixed me right up. i do glute activation stuff and hip mobility stuff before working out and no more pain. i also do foam roller and lacrosse ball stuff. haven’t felt this good in years.[/quote]

Man you are lucky to work one on one with a guy like Cressey. Must be phenomenol. Hell the articles alone made light years of difference for me. I can’t imagine what in person would do.

I had a very similar issue the one that you described in your post. After several days of ice packs and misery I contacted a local massage therapist that was recommended to me by one of my training partners. She worked with me for a number of sessions, doing active release therapy, and the issue went away for a while.

I found that I needed to continue to work with her in order to prevent my trigger points from building back up. I also bought a manual on how the self treat these trigger points.

The title of the manual is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Davies and Davies. I purchased it from the Elite Fitness website. It’s not as good as working with a knowledgeable professional, but it helps me to continue my training between my monthly massage sessions.

Yeah it was most definetly worth it, after a couple of minutes i knew i made the right choice. if anyone is in the MA area and have issues, i would highly reccommend making an appointment to see him, best decision i ever made. His gym is awesome also, no machines like you see in a commercial gym!!!