T Nation

Lumbar Spine Pain After Military Press


I know what has caused it. I am currently in a 5/3/1 phase and was on my last set of the 1 phase, and pushed out 8. The last rep I can remember having bad form and probably hyper-extending my spine. No pain or discomfort at the time, the next day some slight pain, but it has progressively gotten worse and now 1 week on, I am in agony. I can barely sit at work, the only time the pain is not present is if I am standing up, or lying flat. Anything in between is painful.

I also seem to have developed a pain in my left testicle, that wasn't present before this incident. I have an epididymal cyst, and it was checked not so long ago so don't worry about cancer. Not sure if the pain I'm experiencing there now is related to my back.

Have any of you experienced anything like this? Or have any idea what I've done to myself?
I hope its just muscular/tissue damage, really hoping its not a herniated disc or anything like that.


The testicular pain can come from back injury if nerves of the sacral plexus are irritated. As far as the injury itself, it’s hard to say over the internet.


Not sure how cheap/easy/convenient it would be for you… but I’d suggest seeing a doctor just to get a quick once-over.

In the meanwhile, assuming you have no history of liver issues, 600mg of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours for a couple days (with no alcohol intake at all), should help relieve the inflammation. I wouldn’t go above 600mg without doctor’s supervision. 600mg is a typical prescription dosage; if you’re not comfortable with that, just use 400mg.

If you’re still having pain, you CAN add some naproxen too, but follow the label.

When you do see a doctor, see if you can get a prescription for Voltaren Gel (diclofenac sodium). This is basically a muscle rub that contains an anti-inflammatory. You just rub it on the skin over the muscle. A lot of doctors don’t seem to know about it, so you may need to ask (and it may not be available in Ireland). I used it to recover from some torn abdominal fascia and it worked wonders in conjunction with other ant-inflammatories.

EDIT: <— Not a doctor


Also, you may want to focus on strengthening your lower back in the future. Kettlebell/Dumbbell swings will help, as will doing stiff-leg/romanian deadlifts, focusing on using your spinal erectors for lifting the weight rather than your glutes. But hold off until things are feeling good again.


Thanks LoRez and Dr J for your replies. My fiancee is a final year med student and she thinks its consistant with an sacroiliac joint injury. It also could explain the testicular pain involved, although it comes and goes, and is only around when i’m sitting, so it could be unrelated and a coincidence.

I remember breaking my stance on the last rep and adopting a split stance (stupid). Which I’m informed can easily overload the SI joint by unlocking the hips or something like that. Feel so stupid with myself as I’ve always put form first, and on this occasion I show myself up and end up hurting myself.

Here’s hoping its just tissue damage and will sort itself out soon, I just got my adipowers in the mail and I’m dying to squat in them!


No offense to your fiancee, but I think you should get a second opinion.

I say that with all due respect – my [now ex] is a doctor in her final year of residency. The knowledge is good, but the clinical experience with handling differential diagnoses just isn’t there yet at the end of med school.

On the other hand, she can help you with the inflammation and pain management.


While I agree with LoRez’s statement, I do give your fiancee some credit. S-I injury is definitely a consideration. But again, I won’t say that it IS just from an internet discussion.


Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that she was wrong. Just that she might not be 100% right, and it would be best to get a second opinion from someone with more experience dealing with similar cases.


No worries, no offence taken!

I will make an appointment with my GP for next week, that way I can monitor how the pain changes during this rest. I used a heat compress last night which helped me sleep and it seems less tight today.

Thanks for all the help so far.


**I didn’t want to start a new thread.

Its been two months and I met with my Doctor back in Nov '12 and he put me on Naproxen for the inflammation, which tool away the sciatica I was experiencing after I last posted. He didn’t refer me for an MRI, as I am able to walk no problems and didn’t justify the cost, but he suspected a herniated/bulging disc at L4/5.

I then visited my physio and she identified it as L4/L5 when palpating. She had me do some McKenzie stretches and tested me for hypermobility, which I have been deemed to be. I also have some form of lordosis (over arched lower back), which is a result of muscle imbalance I’m told.

She also noticed my hamstrings were extremely tight and asked that I stretch them everyday, along with the McKenzies.

Some days I am relatively pain free, and others it just lingers all day. I should also note, yesterday was the first day I went back to the gym and just did some light-high rep benching with my feet on the bench.

What I wanted to ask was is there anything else I can do, regarding exercise/diet that has been found to be helpful, in the TNation community, to speed up recovery of a herniated disc in the lumbar region…



That sucks man. Im sorry to hear about you injury. Ive been suffering from lingering lower back issues for years myself.

Im no doctor, but if it is a herniated disc, wouldnt they send you of for an MRI to confirm the diagnosis?



Yes you would think they would, but they dont seem to bothered on spending the NHS money to do it. Told me it will sort itself out in time and probably be chronic. But IMO thats not on, I need the MRI to see what way it has prolapsed so that I can do my rehab correctly.

I’m going to make another appointment and try and push it. I’m not too keen on paying privately.


[quote]hypertrophilly wrote:
I’m not too keen on paying privately.[/quote]

Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just pay up. Its your health dude, keep on top of it.



I have hurt my back several times over the years and the only time I had testicle pain was when I actually broke a vertebrae. I would go have it looked at and make sure they X-ray you in several positions. Mine was missed the first 2 X-rays.


Just an update in the case it helps anyone in the future. I visited the Doctor again and got a referral to a fairly new clinic (ICATS - http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/services/920.htm)

I’m hoping they can help me in the long run, but recently I’m not too optimistic that anything will help.

My overall recovery has basically slowed to a stop now, although I am fully mobile I experience some form of discomfort all day in my lower back and left glute, which normally focuses in the SI joint. Stretching is a temporary fix.

I thought I was out of the woods last week as my routine of abdominal work seemed to help somewhat, but the effects were short lived again.

Will update if anything dramatic happens…


Of course anything I say here is limited by the fact that I did not physically examine you, or take a proper history.

With such an acute injury and testicular pain, I would be worried about a hernia. A classic L4/5 herniated disc w/ radiculopathy does not cause testicular pain. The L1 distribution goes to the groin.



OP: Although I’m pretty young (21) and NOT a doctor, I herniated my L4/L5 two years ago and had micro-herniations in three other discs running up the spine. Stellar, I know. I was born with a spinal defect (crack in the vertebrae) which caused an unequal distribution of pressure on the discs. Heavy squatting and deadlifting at a low body weight tore the disc apart. Anyway, after continuing to deadlift and squat AFTER the injury but prior to diagnosis, I damaged it even more. You have to get an MRI to determine the level of such an injury, it’s worth the money.

In terms of recovery, I started going to a chiropractor, which helped… at first. Eventually it just became a hassle and was not worth the money. However, after a year or so off from deadlift and squatting, my back started to get better. I then started front squatting with super light weight and perfect form to strengthen core and work my legs. Then I progressively added deadlifts with rack pulls, then off blocks, and finally (about two weeks ago), deadlifts off the floor. Note this is 2 years after the injury, and my injury was bad. Now I’m working up to front squats in the 225 range and deadlifts approaching 300 at 145 pounds (yes that’s light, but I like being “small”).

Additionally, what I’ve found extremely helpful is Dr. Stuart McGill’s work. Every single day I do his routine, over time gradually increasing the length of each hold, as he suggests certain core/lower back exercises should be increased with during/endurance rather than strength/weight. He also suggests to NOT improve the flexibility of the lower back, as this actually makes you more prone to injury. I completely agree with this. I started doing yoga last semester and my back hurt more during those 16 weeks then it had in awhile. Once I stopped, it’s much better. Anyway, look up “Enhancing Low Back Health through stabilization exercise.” Free PDF online.

Finally, note that low-back pain will never go away at this point. It’s just something you have to deal with efficiently. You get used to it. I also own a heating pad and an electrostim which helps tremendously. I try to do it once a day at least. The electrostim feels great all around the injury.

I hope that helped!


P.S. Long time reader, first time poster!


[quote]tattoo’d’popeye wrote:
I have hurt my back several times over the years and the only time I had testicle pain was when I actually broke a vertebrae. I would go have it looked at and make sure they X-ray you in several positions. Mine was missed the first 2 X-rays.[/quote]

How did you fracture your vertebrae?


Dredging up a 3 year old post, as I’ve managed to end up here again.

The sciatica eventually left and life returned to normal after a year off the weights. Got into olympic lifting for a year after, which resulted in a slow progression in load but great focus on form. Even got back into normal lifting after a year and got new PBs in Squat, Deadlift, Bench and Press. All looking 100%.
Moved to Australia, stopped the weights and started surfing, lower back getting tons of stretching and lower back seems ok, some flare ups here and there, nothing major.

And now I find myself here, 1 week back into lifting, this morning I must have hyperextended my lower back during leg press. Immediate shooting pain. Stopped the workout, went home, stretched. Hoping it would go away. 6 hours later, I can’t stand at 90deg. No ability to extend lower back at all, just sharp shooting pains. Lower back has shutdown. The erectors are now in a constantly contracted state, as are portions of both glutes. Ice packing atm.

All my old tricks to get rid of the pain aren’t working, but I’m just hoping that time will help it.


I feel for you man. Just stay strong, you will get better again.

Did you ever get a MRI, or an actual diagnosis?

What are you doing to bullet proof your back exactly?

Unfortunately, some very serious back injuries can take 5-10 years to heal substantially.