T Nation

Need Lower Back Advice

Hey guys, I’ve been reading the forums for the past couple of months and I like the community. I?ve got some problems with my lower back, I want some advice on.

The Story
I did some lifting in high school, but I didn’t get serious until last year. I started a program of squats, deadlifts and benches (In that order) along with some hanging leg raises. It worked great and I made solid gains for about a month, and then my back started hurting.

It’d usually start in between sets towards the end of a workout. My back would get stiff, and there’d be this throbbing pain on either side of my spine, right above my waist.

Walking about seemed to agitate it, and the only way to soothe it was to just sit or lay down. Weirdly enough, it didn’t effect my strength, lifting just hurt. A lot. So I started cutting short my workouts. Which means, pretty soon, I wasn’t working out.

I went to see a chiropractor and a regular doctor about it. Both took x-rays and told me there was nothing wrong with my spine or my back (okay, the chiropractor told me some stuff wrong with my back, but nothing major and nothing that would cause the difficulty I was having). Both recommended just doing some bodyweight exercises to develop the slow twitch muscle and I’d be fine.

Solutions
So I tried that. I did a wrestler?s bridge every day for a couple of months, also the birddog position and Cobra pose from yoga to help loosen and strengthen my back. About a month later (I continued to bridge afterward), the pain was still there. The first couple of workouts I was overjoyed, because I thought it had gone away. But then it showed up again.

I’ve tried hanging on an inversion machine, I’ve tried stretching, I?ve tried SLDL’s and good mornings to strengthen my lower back? nothing seems to heal whatever’s messed up. At least, nothing I?ve tried. But then again, I imagine there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t tried. Yet.

Anyone got any experience with this? Tips for rehabbing lower back?

You should never stretch your lower back; you need to stabilize it and build mobility at your hips and thoracic spine. Check out my interview here with Dr. Stuart McGill (“Back to McGill”, and definitely incorporate some of the exercises from the Magnificent Mobility DVD in your training.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=878989

www.EricCressey.com

I’m not going to try to trump Eric, he’ll know much more than me. I used to have similar problems and the following things reversed it: I started doing full olympic squats. This started with overhead squats to increase flexibility and core strength and then eventually full, olympic back squats.

The other thing that helped was starting to lift like a powerlifter. Focusing on posterior chain and lifting heavy weights have made my back feel the best it’s ever been.

Ditto on all this. The thing that helped me overcome a bad back was learning to do overhead squats and deadlifting. I added weight slower than I wanted to, but kept on adding for months.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
Ditto on all this. The thing that helped me overcome a bad back was learning to do overhead squats and deadlifting. I added weight slower than I wanted to, but kept on adding for months. [/quote]

I used to think I had a bad back so I would not deadlift, powerclean, or squat. After reading T-Nation I gave it a try and now my lower back never gives me problems. I can’t believe the difference it has made.

Dont know if you are still doing the hanging leg raises but a PTI at my army gym had to stop doing them as they were causing him a great deal of grief in the lower back.

[quote]Otep wrote:
Hey guys, I’ve been reading the forums for the past couple of months and I like the community. I?ve got some problems with my lower back, I want some advice on.

The Story
I did some lifting in high school, but I didn’t get serious until last year. I started a program of squats, deadlifts and benches (In that order) along with some hanging leg raises. It worked great and I made solid gains for about a month, and then my back started hurting.

It’d usually start in between sets towards the end of a workout. My back would get stiff, and there’d be this throbbing pain on either side of my spine, right above my waist.

Walking about seemed to agitate it, and the only way to soothe it was to just sit or lay down. Weirdly enough, it didn’t effect my strength, lifting just hurt. A lot. So I started cutting short my workouts. Which means, pretty soon, I wasn’t working out.

I went to see a chiropractor and a regular doctor about it. Both took x-rays and told me there was nothing wrong with my spine or my back (okay, the chiropractor told me some stuff wrong with my back, but nothing major and nothing that would cause the difficulty I was having). Both recommended just doing some bodyweight exercises to develop the slow twitch muscle and I’d be fine.

Solutions
So I tried that. I did a wrestler?s bridge every day for a couple of months, also the birddog position and Cobra pose from yoga to help loosen and strengthen my back. About a month later (I continued to bridge afterward), the pain was still there. The first couple of workouts I was overjoyed, because I thought it had gone away. But then it showed up again.

I’ve tried hanging on an inversion machine, I’ve tried stretching, I?ve tried SLDL’s and good mornings to strengthen my lower back? nothing seems to heal whatever’s messed up. At least, nothing I?ve tried. But then again, I imagine there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t tried. Yet.

Anyone got any experience with this? Tips for rehabbing lower back?

[/quote]

Maybe you should have your form checked on those lifts…it might not be perfect. If your squatting and/or deadlifting poorly lower back pain must be expected!

I’ll sometimes get a stiff back, muscle issue, but not to the level you describe. I know it’s just this because if I flex my abs and force the pelvis to reduce it’s anterior tilt it will feel better. Laying down might also be helping in a similar way.

Make sure you aren’t developing an anterior pelvic tilt, especially after back work, by only hitting the back without hitting the abs or worrying about posture.

Just another thing to consider, but definitely look into Eric’s advice.

I would go see a ART provider that is schooled in lower extremity. Also I would get the mobility DVD.

These days I dont lift without using blue heat and neuroprene on the ol body to keep warm and loose. You might want to look into some of the products Tate has on his website.

I would just stay away from the squats, deadlifts, SLDL, good mornings, and hanging leg raises for about 2 to 3 months. Let the injury heal. After that you can re-introduce those lifts one at a time. Give it enough time to heal and it will heal. There are plenty of other ways to lift in the meantime.

You said you started to hurt after one month. Maybe being over eager led you to do too much too soon?

[quote]elliotnewman1 wrote:
Otep wrote:
Hey guys, I’ve been reading the forums for the past couple of months and I like the community. I?ve got some problems with my lower back, I want some advice on.

The Story
I did some lifting in high school, but I didn’t get serious until last year. I started a program of squats, deadlifts and benches (In that order) along with some hanging leg raises. It worked great and I made solid gains for about a month, and then my back started hurting.

It’d usually start in between sets towards the end of a workout. My back would get stiff, and there’d be this throbbing pain on either side of my spine, right above my waist.

Walking about seemed to agitate it, and the only way to soothe it was to just sit or lay down. Weirdly enough, it didn’t effect my strength, lifting just hurt. A lot. So I started cutting short my workouts. Which means, pretty soon, I wasn’t working out.

I went to see a chiropractor and a regular doctor about it. Both took x-rays and told me there was nothing wrong with my spine or my back (okay, the chiropractor told me some stuff wrong with my back, but nothing major and nothing that would cause the difficulty I was having). Both recommended just doing some bodyweight exercises to develop the slow twitch muscle and I’d be fine.

Solutions
So I tried that. I did a wrestler?s bridge every day for a couple of months, also the birddog position and Cobra pose from yoga to help loosen and strengthen my back. About a month later (I continued to bridge afterward), the pain was still there. The first couple of workouts I was overjoyed, because I thought it had gone away. But then it showed up again.

I’ve tried hanging on an inversion machine, I’ve tried stretching, I?ve tried SLDL’s and good mornings to strengthen my lower back? nothing seems to heal whatever’s messed up. At least, nothing I?ve tried. But then again, I imagine there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t tried. Yet.

Anyone got any experience with this? Tips for rehabbing lower back?

Maybe you should have your form checked on those lifts…it might not be perfect. If your squatting and/or deadlifting poorly lower back pain must be expected!

[/quote]

Exactly what I was thinking. You can get the best care for your injury or problem but if you keep damaging it you will keep having the problem. Id be very suprised if it was some problem inherent to you and not the way you are doing the lifts.

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
You should never stretch your lower back; you need to stabilize it and build mobility at your hips and thoracic spine. Check out my interview here with Dr. Stuart McGill (“Back to McGill”, and definitely incorporate some of the exercises from the Magnificent Mobility DVD in your training.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=878989

www.EricCressey.com[/quote]

Great post, Eric.

OP, the back, neck and knees are three things you do not want to mess with. Make sure you are 100% certain of that you are doing before you do anything. Permanent injuries that can halt your lifting career pemanently are not rare…