T Nation

Mid-Deadlift Low Back Shot of Pain, One Side Only

Would be very happy if someone could help troubleshoot something that happened to me yesterday = )

I was deadlifting conventional in a very narrow stance with no belt. It wasn’t even close to a 1RM. I was doing sets of 10 and I was on my second set. Everything was normal.

Mid-pull (3rd or 4th rep – not yet fatigued and previous reps felt great) I felt a huge surge of pain and had to drop the weight. After that I couldn’t bend forward without immense pain. Anything resembling a touch your toes stretch or a stiff leg DL type of movement caused immense pain. Bodyweight squats were fine as long as I kept my torso straight. All of this was only in the left side of my lower back.

The pain slowly became more tolerable. Using my hips and glutes to bend over felt perfectly fine and I finished more pulls of the same weight just using a sumo stance. By the time I went home there was still some pain but it wasn’t unbearable.

24 hours later it’s now it’s not very recognizable. I can feel the spot, especially if I change my posture to put pressure on it, but I don’t feel much pain. It feels like it originates more from the outside of my pelvic bone or where the pelvis and spine meet, rather than just the spinal cord itself.

  • No history of any injuries
  • Poor flexibility and have always sucked at conventional deadlifts.
  • Possible for lower back rounding.

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
Would be very happy if someone could help troubleshoot something that happened to me yesterday = )

I was deadlifting conventional in a very narrow stance with no belt. It wasn’t even close to a 1RM. I was doing sets of 10 and I was on my second set. Everything was normal.

Mid-pull (3rd or 4th rep – not yet fatigued and previous reps felt great) I felt a huge surge of pain and had to drop the weight. After that I couldn’t bend forward without immense pain. Anything resembling a touch your toes stretch or a stiff leg DL type of movement caused immense pain. Bodyweight squats were fine as long as I kept my torso straight. All of this was only in the left side of my lower back.

The pain slowly became more tolerable. Using my hips and glutes to bend over felt perfectly fine and I finished more pulls of the same weight just using a sumo stance. By the time I went home there was still some pain but it wasn’t unbearable.

24 hours later it’s now it’s not very recognizable. I can feel the spot, especially if I change my posture to put pressure on it, but I don’t feel much pain. It feels like it originates more from the outside of my pelvic bone or where the pelvis and spine meet, rather than just the spinal cord itself.

  • No history of any injuries
  • Poor flexibility and have always sucked at conventional deadlifts.
  • Possible for lower back rounding.[/quote]

Sounds like an issue I had. In my case it was my quadratus lumborum. Quick test is to see if cat-camel exercise (on all 4’s, flex back then reverse to get extension). If this smarts there you go and rest fixes it, so take a few days off. In my case what happened was that I was lifting very slightly with my pelvis twisted – slightly. I fixed this by standing with my back to a wall, taking a step forward and then deadlifting (no weight!) so that both cheeks hit the wall at the same time. After doing that as a patterning warmup (every time for a month), I was able to lift without much incident and got back to pretty good poundages. Point is that I got pretty far with skewed form then found out in a big hurry what the limit was. Dunno if this is your problem, but this is my case study and maybe something in it will be useful. Could also be that if you were moving fast one end of the bar could have moved away a wee bit, causing the QL to fire on one side to stabilize.

In other words, as Aristotle would say, try and decide if this was accidental (a one time mishap) or essential (there is systematically something off with your lifting form.) Accidental is just a blip. Essential means you are on the path to lots of repeats.

YYMV

– jj

Make sure you take notice of what caused the injury. I suffered the same type of thing with sub maximal weight. Had a pelvic rotation due to muscle imbalance. I would say just rest, heat, ice, the usual. But pain only comes from a weak point, so now is a good time to evaluate what caused it before it becomes a big problem.

JJ –

This might be spot on. Looking at photos of the muscle area it looks like the photos describe exactly where the pain originated.

Especially when pulling over-under, I’ve always kind of twisted the weight up in the opposite side of my underhand – my right hand, unless intentionally switching it up, which means I developed a small habit twisting from the left. I thought I didn’t do this when pulling double overhand, but perhaps I was doing a subtle version of it.

The pain is completely gone now and perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. Practicing deadlifts the last couple days I was really able to feel when I put too much pressure on my lowback so I would know to change it up to engage my hamstrings/glutes more.

Just a little bit scary to think I did something like this at such a low intensity of weight!!

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
JJ –

This might be spot on. Looking at photos of the muscle area it looks like the photos describe exactly where the pain originated.

Especially when pulling over-under, I’ve always kind of twisted the weight up in the opposite side of my underhand – my right hand, unless intentionally switching it up, which means I developed a small habit twisting from the left. I thought I didn’t do this when pulling double overhand, but perhaps I was doing a subtle version of it.

The pain is completely gone now and perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. Practicing deadlifts the last couple days I was really able to feel when I put too much pressure on my lowback so I would know to change it up to engage my hamstrings/glutes more.

Just a little bit scary to think I did something like this at such a low intensity of weight!![/quote]

Glad you are doing better. That’s the important thing and yeah, now that you mention it I only do double overhand hooks too. Hadn’t thought about it. Good info.

As for injury, I remember one trainer pointing out that you can really trash yourself with 10 lbs. if you pick up very wrong. I sometimes remind myself of that if I am getting too creative. :o)

– jj