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Problem with Lower Back Pain

The problem is recurring lower back (very lower back, where the spine hits the hip area) tightness and discomfort. It all started after a set of back squats a month ago where I almost missed but kind of muscled the weight up. What happens is after I do back squats, for 1-3 days my lower back will be very tight, it becomes uncomfortable to sit in certain positions. I have tried stretching, and while it has helped, the problem continues to occur.

I also DO NOT get this from doing front squats, or SLDL. I however do get it from doing deadlifts, conventional or sumo.

What does this sound like to you veterans? A strain, pull, torn muscle, slipped disk, misshifted hips? I want to seek some kind of medical treatment if it’s needed, but I don’t know whether to start at a chiropractor, osteopath, deep tissue masuse, or accupuncturist.

As far as the weight being moved -
the afformention almost missed but muscled up squat was only 170lbs. I’m posting this in beginners for a reason.
I can comfortably work SLDLs @ 205, front squats usually 145-155, and when I pull it’s usually 225-255, PR being 285.

Personally, I would go chiropractic first. But whichever you choose be sure to get xrays and/or MRI before anyone tries ANYTHING other than massage. And it sounds like massage is not what you need.

You shouldn’t be stretching your lower back anyways. The lumbar spine needs STABILITY, not more range of motion.

Are you seated a lot during the day?

Things to consider:

  1. GLute activation. If doing any DL variation is what hurts it the most, it sounds to me you’re trying to muscle it up with your back and not using your glutes.

  2. Core work. Get the core strong

  3. Mobility work. Like I said above, the lumbar spine needs stability, not mobility. Where you want to be mobile is the thoracic spine and hips. Loosen up those hips, and good things will happen.

  4. Stop doing things that hurt it. If I were you, I would stop loading the spine for a good 2-3 weeks. Front squats would be fine, as long as they don’t hurt. Work on extra glute activation. Maybe some knee height rack pulls with LIGHT weight, so you cab groove the proper motor pattern (neutral spine, chest high, etc).

  5. And yes, first and foremost go get it checked out if this is a chronic occurance.

[quote]Tony Gentilcore wrote:
You shouldn’t be stretching your lower back anyways. The lumbar spine needs STABILITY, not more range of motion.

  1. Mobility work. Like I said above, the lumbar spine needs stability, not mobility. Where you want to be mobile is the thoracic spine and hips. Loosen up those hips, and good things will happen.

[/quote]

The first part has to be some of the dumbest advice I’ve seen on this site. Don’t stretch your lower back? I don’t know where you heard this…but it is not true.

Good advice though by stretching hips to activiate glutes, you got that part right.

If squats hurt, don’t do them. They aren’t good for you to begin with.

[quote]Kreal7 wrote:
Tony Gentilcore wrote:
You shouldn’t be stretching your lower back anyways. The lumbar spine needs STABILITY, not more range of motion.

  1. Mobility work. Like I said above, the lumbar spine needs stability, not mobility. Where you want to be mobile is the thoracic spine and hips. Loosen up those hips, and good things will happen.

The first part has to be some of the dumbest advice I’ve seen on this site. Don’t stretch your lower back? I don’t know where you heard this…but it is not true.

Good advice though by stretching hips to activiate glutes, you got that part right.

If squats hurt, don’t do them. They aren’t good for you to begin with.[/quote]

Oh really? Must be Stuart McGill doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to spine stability/lower back health huh? Show me one study that shows that stretching the lumbar spine helps alleviate lower back pain? Most people have “tight” backs because they have little to no power coming from their hips…all of it comes from their lower back; hence, why it is jacked up all the time and feels tight. Improve mobility in the hips and thoracic spine, and the lower back won’t have to compensate.

You don’t need to increase ROM with the lumbar spine. One of the worst things you can do with someone who has lower back pain is to tell them to stretch it. Why make an already unstable back, more unstable by stretching it? Worse yet, to tell them to go to yoga where they focus on even MORE hyperextension/rotation.

Squats are bad huh? How so?

I am not seating for greatly extended periods of time, I’m a student so it’s usually 45 or 75 minutes of seat time, but this is usually where it becomes uncomfortable…and I’m also delivery driver, but I never have any problems in a car seat.

I also considered glute activation as a problem so I started doing more SLDLs. Again, they have never caused me discomfort.

Right now the plan to cut out back squats and deads until I bring up my SLDL and front squat numbers some. If at any point either of those excersizes causes discomfort, then I will go see a doctor.

The same thing happened to me when I first started doing back squats (about 12 weeks ago)

I think what happened is that my hips rose a little to fast before my head, thus increasing my trunk flexion and putting too much strain right on my lower back. Also I wasn’t concentrating on keeping a tight lumbar arch and my core tight.

The following week I hurt the same spot by doing bent over rows.

Then I read Ian King’s Ten Tips for Flawless Squattin’ and learned how to do them properly

The pain went away after a couple weeks of not doing squats or rows and has not come back

-DT

[quote]Tony Gentilcore wrote:

Oh really? Must be Stuart McGill doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to spine stability/lower back health huh? Show me one study that shows that stretching the lumbar spine helps alleviate lower back pain? Most people have “tight” backs because they have little to no power coming from their hips…all of it comes from their lower back; hence, why it is jacked up all the time and feels tight. Improve mobility in the hips and thoracic spine, and the lower back won’t have to compensate.

You don’t need to increase ROM with the lumbar spine. One of the worst things you can do with someone who has lower back pain is to tell them to stretch it. Why make an already unstable back, more unstable by stretching it? Worse yet, to tell them to go to yoga where they focus on even MORE hyperextension/rotation.

Squats are bad huh? How so?

[/quote]

I never said stretching the lower back will prevent pain. You don’t have to go crazy stretching the lower back or anything. I also did not say it would help in his case. All I’m saying it is not necessarily a bad thing. It also depends on the type of stretching you do. And like I said before, you gave him good advice by saying getting more mobility in the hips.

Why are squats bad? I knew you would ask this question so I should of just put my explanation up in the last post.

There are better things to do than squats such as lunges. One reason why they aren’t the greatest is many people do them wrong. Common mistakes include:

  1. They don’t have a strong enough core to support the weight they are doing.
  2. Sitting back and not having your knee go over your toe is a bad thing. Your center of gravity is thrown off. I can’t think of the name of what you could develop in your knees if this is done for a long time.
  3. People intentionally arch their back, this is bad as it compresses discs. You should have a straight back obviously, but a lot of people arch really hard.

I imagine you are going to come back at me with “tons of people do the things above and they don’t have problems.” I’m just telling you what I think from a physiological standpoint. Bottom line is if you are going to do squats, at least do them right.

Kreal7,

Originally, I thought you were just misinformed. Misinformed people get thorough responses.

After your second post, however, I realized that you’re not just misinformed; you’re also someone who - rather than admit that he’s misinformed - stubbornly adheres to false information. That’s way worse than being misinformed. Waaaay worse.

I don’t want to hi-jack the guys thread but I have a similar problem, complete lack of hip mobility (tight hamstrings) is keeping me from doing squats and deads without killing my back. If I’m doing the right stretches, what kind of timeframe am I looking at before I can start doing them again?

Whatever anybody says is good or bad for backs is usually a generalization. Whether lower back flexibility is good or bad in general does not matter as much as how is your own flexibility. If you are less flexible then normal then you might benefit from more flexibility. I don’t think that anybody can ever announce that nobody should ever stretch the lower back. It may be correct for 90% or even 99% of the population, but you won’t know if it is true for you unless you look at yourself. In my experience stretching the lower back can help, but if you are too agressive with the stretching you can do more harm.

Squats and deadlifts may be great for the body overall, if done with correct form. But the reality is that the number of posts form people with back problems is very high. I don’t think that if somebody had back problems that I would recommend squats and deadlifts as a cure.

Nobody has all the answers for lower back problems. Unless you have some easily identifiable problem like a ruptured disk, you are going to hear a lot of opinions and will have to figure it out for yourself.

I’ve had lower back problems in the past and found stretching keeps the pain away. To this day I find it necessary to continue stretching along with constantly monitoring my posture.

I don’t know if I’m in the minority or if stretching can help you, but for me stretching focusing on proper posture and “core strength stretches” (like sitting with my legs extended forward, toes up, back in proper form, hands reaching straight above the head…pressure in hams and lower back…hold for awhile) helped a lot.

see a professional because an internet diagnosis is not the way to go!

however the information given here may shed some light on your problem.

consider hip flexor tightness namely the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris as a possible culprit. these muscles when tight will murder your lower back. look up the warrior lunge and its variations to help solve the problem.

back squatting with a duck arse promotes tight hip flexors so check your form.

also check out your pelvic alignment, look for anterior pelvic tilt. this is an indicator of hip flexor tightness, which leads to lower back pain.

hope this helps, good luck!

For any of you that were were interested or have a similar problem, I figured out what the issue was. I did back squats again for the first time in a couple of weeks (did deadlifts last week and that irritated the issue again) with no discomfort at all.

It turned out to be an issue of form. For the first time I ‘pulled my elbows in and kept my lats and traps tight’ as it usually put. Basically just kept my upper back tight, made sure to breathe and get the core tight before I started my descent and everything is copesetic.

Moral of the story: Check your form, and then check it again.

[quote]worzel wrote:
see a professional because an internet diagnosis is not the way to go!

however the information given here may shed some light on your problem.

consider hip flexor tightness namely the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris as a possible culprit. these muscles when tight will murder your lower back. look up the warrior lunge and its variations to help solve the problem.

back squatting with a duck arse promotes tight hip flexors so check your form.

also check out your pelvic alignment, look for anterior pelvic tilt. this is an indicator of hip flexor tightness, which leads to lower back pain.

hope this helps, good luck![/quote]

Worzel, I don’t have an anatomy book with me right now, but i believe you pointed out a pretty common problem. There is a muscle in the pelvic area that attatched at the bottom of the girdle and goes up the lower back to attatch on the lumbar spine. I can’t recall, but maybe the illoapsoas?

Deffinately good advice. I am going to look up those warrior lunges.

[quote]Tony Gentilcore wrote:

  1. Mobility work. Like I said above, the lumbar spine needs stability, not mobility. Where you want to be mobile is the thoracic spine and hips. Loosen up those hips, and good things will happen.

[/quote]

This sounds like good advice I can use myself. My lower back can hurt when doing Dead-Lifts and my form on squats isn’t the best. Can anyone point me to more articles to get me started loosening my hips and thoracic spine?

Certainly go a see a Dr. I used to have alot of lower back pain after squatting,and tried some mobility work and other such things, but still seemed to have the pain. I went to the Doc finally to find out I had some disk problems in my lower back. I’ve replaced back squats with single legged squats and bulgarian squats and I’ve been fine ever since. Funny thing is,it never really bothered me at all when I was deadlifting.

Heres an update:

I had one day where I did back squats with no problems during or after, but that didn’t last.

I saw my osteopath today (percussive deep-whatever-therapy). The medical sheet I got to take home reads that there were somatic disfunctions in my: head, cervicais, thoratic area, sacrum, pelvic/pubic, lower extremities (left leg), rib cage, and abdomen.

She summed it up as lumbosacral problem that has impacted the rest of my spine, as well as some shifted ribs and an elevated shoulder.

Hopefully the treatment will resolve the issue and when I get back to it in a couple days things will be good to go.