T Nation

Pretty Bad Lower Back Stiffness


#1

My lower back has been a little sore lately (deadlifts, squats, and barbell rows probably), but this morning I was walking around and suddenly my back became very tight and decently painful. I am not sure if this is a strained muscle or something worse. I am taking the day off lifting but was wondering if anyone had experience with this type of injury?


#2

How is your hamstring-hip-low back flexibility? A lot of people that I see with back stiffness/pain can contribute part or all of their problem to their flexibility. Muscles get tight, lose flexibilty and become stiff and subsuquently can pull on the bony structures leading to alignment issues, disc pathology, muscle spasms, etc.

Many people choose to alleviate their pain through chiropractic care, medications, physical therapy, and so on. BUT…I have found that a majority of people’s back pain will improve over the course of a week if they rest (or at least “train around” the pain) and work on their flexibility. If and when you go to see a doctor or other health care professional depends on each individual’s “breaking point”.

You will still experience soreness, it’s just natural with heavy lifting, but you can help to alleviate a portion of your discomfort and decrease the possibility of injury by reviewing your flexibilty and working a little each day to maintain it (off days too). Good luck.


#3

i think i am just going to stop deadlifting… i know it is a great exercise but i know my form isn’t perfect and squats and bb rows are enough for my goals right now. i had just started deadlifting heavy about 2 weeks ago and i think it might be a matter of the lower back muscle being way overworked.


#4

You don’t want ‘flexibility’ in your lower back. Sounds like you’re just getting started and you need to check your form.

I do agree with the suggestion to train around the issue. If it aggravates it, don’t do it. Come back to those exercises when it’s healed.


#5

[quote]dtheyer wrote:
i think i am just going to stop deadlifting… i know it is a great exercise but i know my form isn’t perfect and squats and bb rows are enough for my goals right now. i had just started deadlifting heavy about 2 weeks ago and i think it might be a matter of the lower back muscle being way overworked.[/quote]

In my opinion, take out the barbell rows, add in DB rows and keep deadlifts…having imperfect form is a pretty bad reason not to practice a lift…my two cents.


#6

Hope you’re not doing deads, squat and bent rows in one session. That’s way too taxing on your back in a day.


#7

no… back to back days. bent rows day 1, squats and deads day 2.


#8

well, you’ve found out that what you’re doing, in your current state, is too much stress for your tissues/not enough rest. I’d say try somehow adding a rest day in between those two sessions, or use DB rows as someone suggested. Meanwhile, work on your hamstring flexibility if it’s not already great (that was probably a factor in a disc bulge i had)


#9

also, you’ve considered dropping deads but what about pulling sumo


#10

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#11

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
If you persist in training like this, you will create faulty movement patterns, called ‘synergistic dominance’, where you learn to over-recruit the QLs over the erector spinae, which should be the prime movers when extending the lumbar spine.
[/quote]

BBB, by ‘train like this’ do you mean simply lifting while the back is tweaking, or do you think the OP has already has a fault in technique that caused the QLs to get overworked in the first place?

I’m just starting deads myself, and my backs been feeling fatigued, but only normal-fatigued.


#12

Let me elaborate a little on “low back flexibility”. First, a majority of people primarily do activities that have them do back/trunk flexion. Over time this can lead to tight quadratus lumborum, iliopsoas, abdominals, etc. and “over-stretched” erector muscles in the lower back. This in turn can lead to muscle imbalaces, spasms, etc.

Subsuquently, the L3-L4-L5 vertibraes can become “locked” in place and the person can then lose mobility in their lower back.

I have used McKenzie exercises that have focused on trunk extension with people to help restore normal lower back range of motion and thus help alleviate low back pain. I personally integrate some regular trunk extension flexibility exercises into my program for maintenance and prevension of low back pain.

I hope that you will reconsider stopping deadlifting. I too have had issues with my low back and I would recommend working your core in the meantime and eventually work your way back into deadlifting. Find someone in your area that you trust and have them work with you on your form. I had to work my way back into deadlifting and for about a year I only really did a good deadlift once every two or three weeks. The rest of the time I did alternative lifts that supported the deadlift and worked on my form weekly with very light weight. Good luck.


#13

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#14

Take a week break from lower back exercise, and spend the time doing a form check. Watch videos online, and find out what you’re doing long. Also stretch a lot more. All the time.


#15

My QL’s are constantly stiff and tight, not so much from training, but from working and such. I foam roll and I’ve been trying BBB’s suggestions for correcting it (it’s in a thread in the CT section).

I was thinking of trying some thai massage, stuff like that. There’s a woman I know that’s supposed to be very good, there are doctors here who recommend going there instead of regular physio. lol


#16

you gotta get a foam roller and use it on your hips, for me that has alleivated most of the pain in my lower back


#17

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#18

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Mr.Purple wrote:
My QL’s are working constantly stiff and tight, not so much from training, but from working and such. I foam roll and I’ve been trying BBB’s suggestions for correcting it (it’s in a thread in the CT section).

I was thinking of trying some thai massage, stuff like that. There’s a woman I know that’s supposed to be very good, there are doctors here who recommend going there instead of regular physio. lol

Have you been training your glute med and min religeously? I hope so, 'cos that’s the major factor in QL stress reduction, from a functional perspective, IMO.

BBB[/quote]

I’ve been doing that split squat thing, and the stretch before I go to sleep. Should I be training my glutes directly? They are sore as hell after squatting, so there is no doubt that they are doing some work there. I’d say the glutes get more severe DOMS than any other bodypart.


#19

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#20

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Mr.Purple wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Mr.Purple wrote:
My QL’s are working constantly stiff and tight, not so much from training, but from working and such. I foam roll and I’ve been trying BBB’s suggestions for correcting it (it’s in a thread in the CT section).

I was thinking of trying some thai massage, stuff like that. There’s a woman I know that’s supposed to be very good, there are doctors here who recommend going there instead of regular physio. lol

Have you been training your glute med and min religeously? I hope so, 'cos that’s the major factor in QL stress reduction, from a functional perspective, IMO.

BBB

I’ve been doing that split squat thing, and the stretch before I go to sleep. Should I be training my glutes directly? They are sore as hell after squatting, so there is no doubt that they are doing some work there. I’d say the glutes get more severe DOMS than any other bodypart.

The glute med and min are different from the glute max, in both function and innervation.

They are lateral stabilisers of the pelvis and as such, assist the QLs in that function. So it makes sense that if you train them, then you reduce the demand on the QLs.

I’m surprised that your glutes get DOMS. Mine never do, unless I do jump lunges.

BBB
[/quote]

Guess I’ll check out a wiki or something tomorrow and find out where they are. I’ll need to know where they are to have an idea of how to train them. lol

Maybe DOMS was wrong, hmm. They are what makes me go “oh holy shit” when I foam roll, though.