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Lower back pain on one side


#1

I was wondering if anybody had any experience with lower back pain on one side of their body. It started about a year and a half ago while I was doing straight leg dead lifts. I usually have very strict form keeping my lower back tight and arched, never letting it round as much as I can.

I was lifting heavy and keeping good form until after my tenth rep I decided to go for one more since i hadn't hit failure yet and thought I could keep my form. On the way back up my form broke, which it has from time to time without a problem, I usually just let the weight drop. this time I tried to push through and finish the rep but was forced to drop the weight because it felt like something in my lower back slipped out of socket. On the lower back to either side of the spine there is, what feels like two notches, and the one on the right side felt like it was pulled out of place.

from what I have found researching online, it looks like where the ilium bone and sacrum bone meet or overlap got pulled apart or out of place. From that point on I stopped doing deads all together to try and recuperate. For almost a year I had an on again off again pain in the right side of my lower back that would shoot down my right leg but not all the way down my leg, not even down to the knee. When I would bend down to pick something up most of the time I had to also lift my right leg behind me as I bent over as to not feel any discomfort and when I would sit down on a bench and lay back I would also have to raise my right leg up with me as I laid back then once my back was flat bring my leg down and foot on the floor.

Also while sitting down if I lowered my chin to my chest there would be a sharp pain in that lower right side where those bones meet until I lifted my head back up. As time went on the pain would come back less and less until about six months ago or so when it finally totally went away. But about a month ago I started doing my deads again, regular and romanian style, and everything was going fine until the day after I did bent over barbell rows. I never felt like my form broke down but I must have tweaked it just enough for it to come back.

The next leg day of mine I could feel the pain during my squats but nothing bad at all, i just new it was there. and when I did my deads at my normal weight I actually went up in weight because it didn't effect my form, actually made my form better because of how worried i was about it, and could barely feel anything in my lower back, even less then i felt during squats. So i didn't believe that it would be a problem anymore. But today I felt the pain even more than usual and it was about as bad as it was when i first started having this problem. During squats it didn't effect me all that much during the workout, just after. I also couldn't do my regular deadlifts because of the pain and not knowing if it is just pain or an actual injury and not wanting to really fuck anything up.

I believe it was so bad today because yesterday during my cardio I did three, five minute rounds on the heavy bag alternating with three five minute rounds of jumping rope. I didn't feel anything at the time or after but with all of the mid and high kicks combined with other combinations that is a lot of core, lower back and hip movement, especially with the high kicks. And I believe that this is what caused the pain to come back during today's workout with such a vengeance and now two and a half hours after the workout it is about as bad as it ever has been. I really want to try and get to the bottom of this on my own because I am currently in a situation where i wont be able to go to sports med for at least four or five months.

I am sorry about making this post so long but i wasn't able to find an answer for my specific pain and wanted to make sure i didn't leave anything out in case someone actually is familiar with this and is able to help.


#2

The fact that it hurts in your low back when you are supine and you raise your head indicates a nerve problem. When you raise your head, your spinal cord is pulled up, which in turn pulls on the nerves that run down your leg. Right now the nerve is probably very irritated from being yanked on with all the kicking you did after reaggravating the injury, which is why it hurts so much.

You may have herniated a disk or at least made it bulge when you injured it initially. The disk put some pressure on your nerves and caused pain that radiated partway down your lower extremity. When the disk healed, there may have been some adhesions between the nerve and the surrounding tissue, so it did not glide with movement like it was supposed to. This resulted in the nerve being stretched with movement instead. When you got back into deadlifting and followed it up with high kicking, the nerve was stretched and yanked on from the bottom, making it irritated and giving you your symptoms.

Whatever the mechanism of injury, rehab for it would mean first, stop yanking on the nerve and let it calm down. No deadlifts, high kicks, or violently bringing your chin to your chest. This will give it a chance to repair itself. Then, once the healing phase is over, gradually introduce movement. You don’t want to stretch the nerve, you want it to glide smoothly with movement. Google neural flossing for some exercises that will help break adhesions so the nerve won’t get stretched again when you try to deadlift.

That was my best guess on what was going on based on the info you gave.


#3

Thanks for the input, that definitely got me pointed in the right direction. The neural flossing exercises I found are helping bring the discomfort down. I am just hoping those exercises and time will be all I need for a full recovery and that the nerve isn’t getting pressure put on it by a bulging disk or something that will need a lot more time and effort to recuperate from.


#4

It sounds like you’ve got the exact same injury as me. Back in August of this year, I was trying to work up my deadlift numbers, proper form, and not yet at my max. I was warmed up, and on my fifth set and half way up, my back seized, the weight dropped, and I was completely stiff. I couldn’t move or bend down without going through the same troubles as you did (lifting my opposite leg, etc.).

My doctor told me it was a muscle spasm, as did the physiotherapist and chiropractor. Between the initial injury and now, I managed to injury it the same way again about 2 months ago, and today it is still very tight and I feel the lower back issue is still there.

If you learn anything else about this - please let me know. I’m itching to get back to deadlifting and back squats.

In the meant time, I’ve been doing VERY light lower back work to try and strengthen it (hyperextensions for 10 reps/3 sets and rack pulls with >70lbs), daily stretching, and I’ve completely cut out deadlifts/back squats. Light front squatting (>135lbs) is the heaviest I load my spine.


#5

I have been doing a lot of research on my own while still lifting and just cutting out cardio for the time being to better help my recovery without stopping working out all together. I now know i definitely have sciatica and if you are having the same symptoms and have a shooting/burning sensation down one or both of your legs you have that too.

if your sciatic nerve is getting irritated solely because of pressure from tight muscles start applying icey hot or tiger balm to the effected area before you lift. i have been doing this along with taking a few tylenol and it is helping tremendously. in certain positions though the pain is still intense though so i believe i also am getting pressure put on the nerve from something else, possibly a herniated disk.

I still have not been able to do any kind of dead lift yet but i am able to do my normal heavy back squats, the injury has ironically improved them actually because the only way i can do them is if my form is immaculate and if i lower a bit slower then i have in the past. I have a consistent lifting partner though so that is why i can do my normal weight without ever breaking form.


#6

I had this pretty much exact same thing happen to me too. Took a LONG time to get better, mostly because I kept trying to deadlift every time the pain went away. I’d be fine for a few months then it’d come back.

What I recommend is to get a copy of Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook and perform the movement screens. If you are anything like me you’ll fail them miserably. Fix your movement patterns and you’ll be fine.

As for your sciatica, try getting a hard ball, and sit on it cross legged, getting it right up into the asscheek on the sore side. Move your leg around and just kinda wiggle about til you hit the sweet spot (when it happens, you’ll know). It’s gonna hurt, but after a couple of minutes of rolling around on it you should feel considerable relief.