T Nation

Pop Goes My Back


Just wanted to see if anyone else has experienced this problem. I was doing standing barbell curls earlier this morning, when all of a sudden I felt a "pop" in my lower back (toward the left side) and then a surging pain.

I was wondering if using a weightlifting belt in the future would be good or any other suggestion that any of you might have to prevent this type of injury.

I just started working out regularly 4 months ago, but have proceeded very slowly and cautiously since I am over 40 and haven't lifted in a good number of years.

Thanks to all who could help!



I recommend strongly reading the materials of Dr. John Sarno or those of his pupil Dr. Marc Sopher. I have used the techniques they outline very successfully over the years not just for back injuries but other ailments such as allergies, upset stomaches, headaches and knee and hip pain to name a few. Best wishes.


Some serious rehab to get your spine in good working order followed by strengthening to prevent future injury. Look up Ian King in the Authors section.
The Sacked Back, Part I
Dealing with training related back injuries
by Ian King

This one and its follow up article may get you on the right track.

The guy has done wonders for me.


Thank you very much!

I will check out these resources and hopefully get back into lifting shape very soon.



I didn't see where you said that you had back problems so I would get my ass to a chiropractor and get it straightened out. I'm 35 and I need to get my lower back put back in place about once a week.

Sure your body can realign itself but I doubt it will do it as fast as a chiro.

When I do heavy deads I can almost guarantee that my lower back will go out.



I use my belt starting at 315lbs. in both the squat and deadlift.I also use it when I do T-bar rows,one arm dumbbell rows,shrugs.I find that when I'm working with heavy weights for me it stabilizes me.It keeps me tight, and the belt allows my middle body mass to push out against the belt, which helps me stay tight while executing the lift.I also use my belt at 225 in my bench to help me maintain my arc and set up on the bench.Hope this is helpful.TRAIN HARD Jimmy T


SteveO, one more thing.I also do ab work every workout.300 to 400 crunches as well as hyperextensions.Hanging leg lifts as well,but not every workout.I do alot of stretching.Determination,focus,and again glory to the good Lord,for through him all things are possible.Another day and one more challenge,it's awesome.TRAIN HARD Jimmy T


Thanks Jimmy T!

I actually implemented the daily ab work, hyperextensions, and stretching. I really neglected these areas and so I probably paid for it with my back a bit. I'll have to work up to the 300 - 400 crunches though.............

I also changed up some of my workout routines to those things I could do seated (seated dumbell curls instead of standing barbell curls, etc.) until my back calms down a bit.

I was glad about your comment about Brooklyn on the other thread. That is where I was born and where I go to church. Brooklyn rocks!


1 Cor. 10:13


steveo if you popped you back doing curls, doing more curls should be the last thing on your mind.



Hey bro,

Thanks for the links............

.......I will check out the information and implement accordingly.


I was thinking of starting a new thread, but I will hijack this one (with apologies).

I am currently 30. When I was 19, I herniated and slipped a disc in my back. Physical pain means nothing in the gym after that experience. (I also had a spinal tap at seven which comes pretty close to the pain threshold.)

I hobbled my way to the University Hospital after being told I was a "pussy" by my lifting partner. Thanks, Adam.

I rehabed, was told I have degenerative disc disease (I will get fusion in the inevitible future). I was told to swim and not lift weights.

As I read the posts here, I know there are a variety of reasons we all lift. But I must say, the main reason for me is mental health. When I don't lift heavy, I lose myself in my life. I lose my way. I've had three month stretches where I could not lift (or barely walk) because of my back. At first I am full of rage (wolf hour happens often), and then it appears I lose all my will (depression) after a long enough absence from the iron.

Injury happens, you rehab, you come back. But my warning to anyone reading is to not ignore true injury. At 23, I reinjured my disc while doing squats. I rested and came back, but there were reprecussions for not seeing a medical professional.

I pinched a nerve that caused atrophy in the inside of my left calf. My left calf is now all but tendon and skin. I cannot even get on the ball of my left foot when I attempt to do so. It was a gradual atrpophy, but I remember the day I reinjured my disc, I didn't see a physician. My main point here is that the muscle is never going to return and I will always walk with a limp.

I will have the unavoidable surgery in the future (the disc disease and rupture are two different problems).

I still lift heavy, but listen to my body. Hammer machines have helped a great deal (I am sure many will rip me a new one for that comment, but they allow me to safely increase weight.)

Be careful of that back! If you ever injure it, many people will come tell you their sob stories (like me), but most just suffer and do nothing about it. The best rehab for me is having loose hamstrings and strong abs (I am 6'3", 270 lbs and can touch my palms to the gound when I bend over and do 4 sets of twelve on hanging leg raises). This has helped more than anything.

The spine is a funny thing, please protect it so you don't go through what I went through.


No apologies necessary bro. Sorry to hear about all that you have gone through.

From the many comments and suggested reading it has not escaped me that I must do a better job at getting my core much stronger. That seems to be good advice which I have been and will continue to implement. Only then will I have the strength to lift heavy and lift safely.

Thanks for the sober reminder..........


Man, I am lucky I can walk. I guess it is all how you look at life experiences.

The core lifts are the best, bar none.

I wasn't looking for sympathy, but thanks for the reply. There are a great deal of things going well, and not so well, in my life. But I take full responsibility for them all. It wasn't like I got cancer (like a friend of mine, in his twenties got recently.) He doesn't want pity, so why should I?

Good luck and Happy New Year.


SteveO,checking to see how your training is going?How is your back doing?I have a little tendonitis in my upper right bicep.I brought my grip in on my bench to help on the stress level.Squats on thursday and deadlifts on friday.

I,m doing 3 sets of 5 in each lift.I started a 8 week power cycle.This week I'm at 65% or 340lbs.in both big lifts.It's going to get heavy fast and I love the challenge.I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.Hey, by the way I went to LaSalle in high school.Brooklyn does rock.

I still have lots of family in brooklyn.I'm chatting with you from Ft.Worth,Texas.I'm watching the Rose Bowl so I'll talk to you later.TRAIN HARD Jimmy T


Inversion boots, AKA Gravity boots.

Do everything above. Ian King and cyropractor all good things. But hanging upside down really makes my back feel great.


Hey Jimmy T,

Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks to all of you guys and the great information. I have implemented some of the above already (e.g. "core" excercises, stretching, etc.).

The back feels much better and I am still training albeit a little smarter now.

Hope everyone sticks with it and has great results in the coming year!



SteveO,thought I would say hi and check in on your training.How is the routine working?Are the crunches and hyperextensions helping your flexability?Hang in there,it will pay off!I'm in my second week of my cycle and I feel great.If I can remain free of injury I'll give them a run for there money in june.

Like the saying goes,you better bring a latern and a lunch,it's going to be a long night pal.Thank you for sending me the Bible verse.PTL TRAIN HARD Jimmy T


Going great! Seems to have healed really nicely. I haven't skipped a beat in my training either.



I have had back problems for more years than I care to admit. I have found that stretches for the back before a workout are a must.

Then, and I think this is the most important thing one can do to protect the lower back muscles, when doing any exercise that puts any strain on the lower back, tighten your abs by contracting and sucking in your gut at the same time, hard.

If you are not used to it, it takes a little out of you at first because when I say suck in your gut hard, I mean HARD. After a while, you will do it with ease. This has allowed me to squat and DL again.


SteveO,how is your training going?Any more back pain?I have some tendon soreness at the top of my bicep.Started taking glucosamine chondroitine plus msm twice a day.Increased my protein intake with 40 additional grams per day.Training is on schedule and looking forward to the Masters National in june.Hope all is well with you.PTL and TRAIN HARD Jimmy T