T Nation

Permanently Tight Back; Need Fix


I've created this account pretty much only so I could find a solution here, because this has been going on for a while now - 8 months.

On my first ever deadlift attempt ages ago instead of giving myself time to learn proper form I rushed it, lifted with a bent back and got a muscle strain. It went away in about 5 days, but then a few weeks after that I started having much milder but more persistant pain in my lower back. I ignored it for a while but squatting seemed to worsen it so I went to check it out.

My doctor was useless, but a masseuse told me I had very tight spinal erectors. The massages themselves didn't help too much, but two things in particular did: the cat stretch and the tennis ball massage. This removed enough of the tightness that for the past 3-4 months I haven't had the slightest bit of pain. But my back is still tight, squatting with proper form makes my back feel like it's tightening up (and it does) and I haven't deadlifted since.

I have no spasms and it's equally tight on both sides. My hamstrings aren't tight, I don't believe my glutes or hams are weak, I have no pain whatsoever anymore so it can't be a spinal issue like a herniated disk, I've had an ultrasound done and I have no muscle tears, but this still hasn't gone away. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether or not I have anterior pelvic tilt, but if I do it's very mild. This is hardly debilitating but I'm very ambitious about bodybuilding and having to hold myself back has meant I've spent these past 8 months stagnating at only 155lbs, so I still have a ways to go.

My previous methods have stopped having an effect, what do I do, and what has even been causing this?


Well here’s what made a significant difference for me :

Warm-ups - Deadbugs, birddogs, and hip bridges - wake up the glutes

daily - hip flexor stretches, 3 min per side (I sit all day).

What I found was my glutes were not active, and as a result I had anterior pelvic tilt & the lower back took over.

Rarely have the tight back like I used to.


I sit all day too. How do I know if I have anterior pelvic tilt?

If I do have it, how often do I do those exercises? You call them warm-ups, so do you do them before a workout or what?


Guys pls


“I don’t believe my glutes or hams are weak”

Denial is the first sign of weak glutes and hams my friend.

On a more serious note, if you have anterior pelvic tilt your ass sticks out. If you have posterior pelvic tilt your ass tucks under. I wouldn’t focus on your spinal erectors because as logical as the “where there’s smoke there’s a fire” approach may be, you need to find out why your back hurts because it doesn’t just hurt on its own unless it’s like, you know, ripped or something. But you say your back is fine other than the pain so cat stretches and direct low back stretches might help, but it’s just short term relief.

If you sit all day and deads and squats make your back hurt I can almost guarantee you that it’s your hip flexors and femoral erectors that are tight as fuck because you live in hip and knee flexion. They tilt your pelvis out of alignment and an imbalanced physical lifestyle (or complete lack thereof) will put your posterior muscles to sleep.

You need to activate your posterior muscles and stretch your anterior movers.

Roll on a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball. Google image search rectus femoris, find out where yours sit and roll it out. And when you roll you roll sloooooooooow. Its supposed to hurt. Like a lot. But the good kind of pain. Rehab pain. Use your fingers too. Get in there. Excavate.

You also want to do a static femoral erector/hip flexor stretch. I like this one: SEE IMAGE Get a bench. Stand in front of it. Bend one leg and place the top of your foot onto the bench. Kneel down so that knee touches the floor. Now you want to find a good position for yourself so that the tibia of your front leg is perpendicular to the floor. Now squeeze the glute and tilt the pelvis forward and up. Pretty much do the opposite of an anterior tilt so tuck your ass under and flex the glute while trying to touch the glute to your heel (it’s not supposed to touch). Twist away from the leg being stretched. Hold this for a few minutes. A few minutes. Each leg.

You can also Google hip flexor/femoral erector stretches and do those after your squatting/deadlifting to alleviate the pain, that’s what I did.

From what you’re describing I’m assuming the main issue is the imbalance between posterior anterior muscles. Anterior tight, posterior weak. Pretty much the majority of every person on this planet. I think it’s a global conspiracy to make us all weak and sedentary so the reptilians can take over. Anyway. Try out the stretches.