T Nation

Strained Lower Back From Dead Lifting


#1

Hey guys so just curious on some Input, I strained my lower back today deadlifting but did not feel any major pain or discomfort until a few hours later. I was working with a 3x5 set of 275 and used six warm up sets. During the third or maybe fourth set I thought I felt a pull on my back, but it did not hurt for more then a couple seconds and I thought I just had some awkward positioning.

I finished my workout at the gym with some leg raises and went home and a few hours later upon standing up I had a very tight lower back with pain that is making standing up straight totally straight hard to do. I looked in the mirror and noticed my lower back muscles in the thoralumber region are inflammed, especially my left side. I am going to take at least four or five days off any kind of lifting, and do some heat therapy, foam rolling,nutritional support, etc. However I cannot afford going to a chiropractor or doctor so I am assessing if this is something I can just let heal on its own over the next couple weeks, or I should just schedule a doctor appointment regardless and find a way to finance it.

The pain and tightness are not too debalitating it just makes me look goofy hunching around like I am ninety years old. It makes walking a bit challenging to do completely up right obviously, and bending over I don't feel added pain or significant added tightness/pressure, it starts to hurt a lot more when standing around too much though. With this all in mind I would typically just let my body heal itself and not think about it. It is just the noticable inflammation that makes me question having a professional look at it too.

Is noticable inflammation like this common in a strain or tear of the tissue, the muscles are noticably protruded. Also is there something a doctor typically prescribes that is necessary for this, or is this kind of injury just something to recup at home in most cases? Or perhaps it is worth looking into making sure this is not a disc related injury as well, which may have a different requirement for time away from the gym?

Thanks for any help!


#2

I’ve gone through this multiple times with deadlifting ( especially in highschool/ early uni as an ego lifter). In my experience, it depends how bad it turns out to be. Sometimes it goes away on its own in 1-2 weeks of rest( not completely bed ridden, but nothing that strains the lower back further). Other times I was so crippled in the 2-3 days afterwards that I had to choice but to go to a chiropractor. In those cases, my right SI joint had been out of place. I walked into the chiropractors office hunched over, taking baby steps and in a world of pain at every move. Walked out feeling 100x better and walking fine, went back for a follow up two days later for another slight adjustment and was on my way to find another way to pull something at the the gym.

Long story short, give it some time but if it doesn’t start getting better I would recommend trying to budget for a chiro appointment.


#3

[quote]Drice21 wrote:
I’ve gone through this multiple times with deadlifting ( especially in highschool/ early uni as an ego lifter). In my experience, it depends how bad it turns out to be. Sometimes it goes away on its own in 1-2 weeks of rest( not completely bed ridden, but nothing that strains the lower back further). Other times I was so crippled in the 2-3 days afterwards that I had to choice but to go to a chiropractor. In those cases, my right SI joint had been out of place. I walked into the chiropractors office hunched over, taking baby steps and in a world of pain at every move. Walked out feeling 100x better and walking fine, went back for a follow up two days later for another slight adjustment and was on my way to find another way to pull something at the the gym.

Long story short, give it some time but if it doesn’t start getting better I would recommend trying to budget for a chiro appointment.[/quote]

Thanks man, the weird thing is I woke up this morning and all the inflamation is gone already and I don’t have anymore tightness or pressure in my lower back. Now it is isolated to a really aching/ throbbing pain in the muscle that was most inflammed last night. Still hurts but the way it was last night compared to now made it feel like two completely different kinds of injury. I will take this injury as a way to change some things around in my routine so I don’t run into situations like this again soon.


#4

Probably just a strain of the erector spinae. If that is the case it should resolve itself over the next few weeks. Wouldn’t jump back into deads until its all healed up. Get someone knowledgeable to watch you deadlift (or upload a video on here) for someone else’s opinion on your form. Could of just been a one time thing but getting another opinion is never a bad idea.


#5

First reaction was to ask if you were wearing a belt and to say that for my deadlifting injuries, which I’ve had two, it both times started out as me assuming it was a back injury but upon further analysis turned out to be sprained cartilege from the ribcage, caused by the belt.

I’ve never experienced noticable swelling though. That would be concerning to me; I would give it a week or so and see a doc if it doesn’t resolve. The spine is a pretty complicated area in terms of the discs and such, and having something like a bulging disc could be a real problem.


#6

[quote]MinusTheColon wrote:
First reaction was to ask if you were wearing a belt and to say that for my deadlifting injuries, which I’ve had two, it both times started out as me assuming it was a back injury but upon further analysis turned out to be sprained cartilege from the ribcage, caused by the belt.

I’ve never experienced noticable swelling though. That would be concerning to me; I would give it a week or so and see a doc if it doesn’t resolve. The spine is a pretty complicated area in terms of the discs and such, and having something like a bulging disc could be a real problem.
[/quote]

No belt that I used, but I feel like the level of inflammation, symptoms, and the location all make it obvious that there was certainly a muscular strain. As I don’t think there would be this much inflammation in the muscle for a bulging or herniated disc. Now whether or not I also bulged or herniated a disc I do not know. But I do not have any of the major signs for that I believe… Still going to get it checked out now, because I want to be sure before I start exercising around the injury again. Are disc and nerve issues pretty simple to pick up on X ray, and what kind of specialist would people suggest going to? I just want to make sure when I see a doctor that I see the best person to diagnose what is going on first and foremost, and receive the most accurate tests so I don’t have to pay more out of pocket with other doctors. As well as understand the best approach pertaining to level of injury when I go back to the gym.


#7

So my swelling and pain all went away after about seven days, I am deciding now if I can resume weight training with light weight being careful to keep good form even when pulling dumbbells on and off the rack, and not doing any exercises that put pressure on my lower back. I.e. Squats, dead lifts, leg press, etc… Does this sound like a good idea if I do not do any movements or exercises that cause pain, or should I take more time off even if I don’t feel pain anymore and can move just fine? I feel like I should be okay if this is just a muscular issue without risking making it worse if I don’t do any aggravating exercises.


#8

I would say if the pain, swelling etc has gone away then try doing light weight deadlifts and squats. I mean with a dowel or super light bar, just to see if going through the movement pattern triggers anything. If everything’s good, no pain or tightness etc. then gradually start adding load. Just remember once you start getting heavy again not to make the same mistake twice, or three times or 5+ times…good times.