T Nation

Shooting Pain Lower Back

Hi guys, my first post here. I am pretty old I guess for this place. I am 45 and I have been training regularly since I was maybe 37, though I have only been doing weights under a trainer’s guidance for about 2 years.

Several years ago I would get a dull ache in my left lower back which sometimes radiates to the edge of my hip bone. Sometimes it was very close to the spine. I went to a doctor and he sent me for an MRI and the result was that I had a bulging L5 S1, so it was not herniated. I live in Bulgaria and I don’t speak Bulgarian so it’s been a real challenge to get treatment.

I went to a physiotherapist who would tie me in knots. He pointed out my right hip was slightly elevated. After he tied me in knots I would be level for a while but there was no real long term benefit. I did reading and I did side planks, yoga positions like downward dog, I bought a book by Escogue and practiced many of the stretches he recommended. Nothing seemed to help much. If anything the stretching may have aggravated the ache. Anyway, it didn’t get much worse.

Finally I started going to a good trainer who showed me how to do deadlifts, squats etc properly, although he didn’t let me do those initially because he was worried about my back. Eventually I really tired of the alternative exercises (side planks and superman) and I begged him to let me squat and deadlift. For a year this has gone fine, but in the last few weeks it went wrong. 3 weeks ago I was learning how to jump at the track and I jarred my spine on landing. I felt sore immediately in the lower left lumbar area and recognized it as the old L5 S1 pain. I took it easy for 2 weeks and trained with lower weights. However last Monday my first exercise was a deadlift with my usual weight. On the third rep I felt a shooting pain in the lower left lumbar area and dropped the bar. I went home immediately and spent 24 hours performing RICE. I am sure I had herniated my disk as there is no pain as immediately recognizable as an impinged nerve. Anyway it seems the disk only temporarily touched the nerve as I had no leg weakness, nor tingling, though I still would get shooting pain for 2 days when I twisted my back. 6 days later I feel ok. I even went running this evening without any pain.

Anyway something is clearly wrong. I have instability in the area and I am hoping some experts here can help me identify exactly what it might be so I can address it. Here are some other symptoms you may recognize:

  • When I perform a one arm overhead press with the left arm I feel like my left side is collapsing. It feels weak, like muscles are not being activated around the hip area. I have been unable to progress to higher weight with overhead press because of this.

  • Performing renegade rows, my left hip is always drifting skyward no matter how much my trainer reminds me to pull my pelvis in. This happens when I am rowing with the left arm.

  • sometimes I just feel something is not stable in my lower spine and when I tighten my core, I feel a click and it lines up again

  • When I am bending over to do a task like cleaning my dog’s paws, during straightening up I will hear a click coming from the left lower back area (to the left of the pine) and feel some discomfort. It feels unstable. The click is not from the spine in this case.

  • sometimes I feel soreness at the front of the hip

  • I also get upper back soreness from the computer

  • If I stand around or walk slowly I develop a nasty ache in the lower left lumbar area which is relieved by bending forward (touching my toes)

Apologies this is such a long post. It’;s just I have no chance to find a good specialist here, so I am hoping if I give enough details someone will recognize my problem.