T Nation

MMA & Lower Back Pain

So how much do those of you who CURRENTLY train Muay Thai and/or BJJ think that someone with lower back pain/injuries would fare for some training? I’m rehabing my lower back from a deadlifting injury that sidelined me for a while (over a year).

I’m feeling pretty good; still hittting the gym and making good strength gains; but I want to get back to some MMA training. It’s been about 2yrs since I trained last; but am apprehensive about training and injuring myself again.

I know that I can “take it at my own pace” in order to have this not happen…but how do you all here think when it comes to having an old injury (not currently injured) and stepping back into doing some rolling and some stand up sparring?

what kind of injury? like something torn or broken, or just muscular?

i’ve all had sorts of back issues (basically it hurts from my tailbone to the base of my skull, all the time), and my pain seemed to diminish with BJJ and MT. of course, i recently tweaked my neck, but i attribute that to not preparing my neck right…

i rounded my lower back on some heavy deads; pain followed.

no disk slippage thankfully.

honestly, if you’re not in pain and warm up properly, i’d think you’ll be good to go. seriously, BJJ helped my back pain a lot…lifting seems to aggravate it more than anyhting else. obviously, i have some strength imbalances there as well, that i’m trying to correct.

I had some back issues. Trained the fuck out of my abs and back. Haven’t had a problem since.

[quote]B rocK wrote:
So how much do those of you who CURRENTLY train Muay Thai and/or BJJ think that someone with lower back pain/injuries would fare for some training? I’m rehabing my lower back from a deadlifting injury that sidelined me for a while (over a year).

I’m feeling pretty good; still hittting the gym and making good strength gains; but I want to get back to some MMA training. It’s been about 2yrs since I trained last; but am apprehensive about training and injuring myself again.

I know that I can “take it at my own pace” in order to have this not happen…but how do you all here think when it comes to having an old injury (not currently injured) and stepping back into doing some rolling and some stand up sparring?[/quote]

you know what, even without an injury, everyone should be cautious stepping back on the mats after a haitus. simply speaking, you gotta take it easy. dont twist too fast on those crosses and try not to scoop people up on a double leg.

Warm up well every time. Go to Stadion.com and read some of the articles, get a little idea of what you need to warm up for yourself before you train, some dynamic stretches a lil shadowboxing/drilling THEN jump into class. Most people either DON"T warm up or they completely over do it… both lead to peril.

If you have back problems, take steps towards strengthening your back. That means taking the ego out of your lifts and doing a lot of remedial shit.

It also means a ton of mobility work for your hips. Tight hip flexors lead to a lot of lower back pain and you get that a lot in training. The reason why people’s back feel better after training BJJ as opposed to lifting is the mobility aspect required. Mobility work is SEVERELY underrated in the world of combat sports… Despite Rickson hyping up Yoga from the vale tudo days. Be very careful though some stretches (not from the stadion site though) aren’t beneficial to your back and at all and can just provide future problems. There’s a shit ton of articles on T-Nation about this as well. Please don’t be afraid of the search function :slight_smile:

Glute activation drills are prime here because I’m willing to bet that your lower back takes over when it should be your ass doing the work.

Train the HELL out of your abs. You won’t feel the need to slouch with a strong back and abs that can support themselves

Go to skins.net and get some gear, helps a lot with keeping your body warm and helps to prevent injury. This a step you could skip but if you have the cash go for it. If you need neoprene sleeves or whatever invest in them.

oh and this seems a little ‘easy’ but hanging from a pullup bar for a minute or two. REALLY helped my back health. I didn’t have to do it before or after training just at some point in the day, I hang from something tall and let gravity readjust my shit. If i had inversion boots that would probably be even better. Foam rolling, and ART would be great to get rid of any muscle fascia tissue issues you have

I have a lot of lower back pain due to a car injury, leg length discrepancy etc. The number one thing I could suggest is a lunge stretch to really open up the hips and the butterfly, sitting lotus or whatever it is called. Just open those hips up as much and as often as you can, it will make a difference.

Also CaLaw and Xen are right on the abs as well imo. I spent a lot of work on my back trying to build it up in hopes of helping alleviate my problem and to some extent it most certainly did, but in one of those DUH moments I was sitting down one day and I looked at my seated posture and noticed my abs were totally not engaged. I stood up and looked in the mirror at my profile and it was even more obvious, not to mention, here I was standing up and my abs were relaxed, uh no good.

So yeah, work those abs, work that back / glutes, hams and stretch those hips out at every opportunity.

Johnny, I have similar issues from injuries sustained in a car crash. When I deadlift heavy I find Im really tight on the right side (which is now the ‘bad’ side). Do you have any suggestions for sorting out stuff like this? I’m going to speak to a physio about it anyways but advice from someone who’s been there and done it is always helpful. (the exact thing is when I stand straight, i rotate to the left, everything is fine, but when I do this to the right, as I return bk to the centre about the middle of my lower back just above my hips someething feels tight, like it ‘clicks’ past etc.)

I want to put some more power into my lower bk for the injury prevention and stabilisation, but I’m worried that deadlifting with a barbell is just making the strength imbalance or whatever it is worse. It could also be related to flexability so ill run some searches on the terms you used. Thanks.

I had the opposite happen. Injured my back in judo, re-aggravated the injury a few months later in bjj, and had to stop training grappling for several months. I started deadlifting every week (light weight at first) and added stretching. My back feels great now and is much stronger (dead went from 295 to 475 in last year).

Deadlifts are your friend! Just don’t try to impress anyone by lifting heavy with shitty form.