Strange Back Pain After Deadlift

Hey everyone. Looking for some advice on an issue that just started. I’ve been running 5/3/1 and about a week and a half to two weeks ago I started to notice that I was having some pain in my lower back. At first I thought maybe it was me being stiff and the cold weather. Then I thought it might have been due to increased activity at work or being on my feet longer than normal. Anyway I went home and did my workout which included deadlifts 5x10. I was sore afterwards but figured it was normal as I’m usually sore afterwards. that night I noticed the soreness was there when trying to move for sitting or getting up and down, the hip hinge movement. I figured it would pass and took some time off from lifting. I took a week off and reaccessed my training template. On Tuesday I did squat and bench to test my training maxes for a new template and did ok. My squat was weak but little to no pain. Yesterday I did the deadlift and press and had to stop the deadlift because I could feel the pain during the lift.

The pain is an ache in the lower back like if your standing for long periods with the wrong shoes. At times I can feel a noticeable jolt that seems to run up my spine when I move my head and hinge.

I’m not sure what’s going on and I’m not too worried about it being a major thing because I’m going to play it safe. I’m wondering two things. First how long should I rest up before attempting to get back to lifting? As I found out yesterday I’m obviously not healed. The second thing is any rehab ideas that might help? I’ve heard some people recommended the bill starr rehab method which is like a daily rehab protocol that you do the empty bar for 3x25 the next day you increase reps then the following week you do the same but increase weight and decrease reps to help pump blood into the area but I know that can’t be the best way either. Just looking for some suggestions to see if anything sounds logical to getting back on track or not.

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The Starr Rehab protocol is for a muscle tear, not tendons or impingements.
I think you should find out what you have going on. This could turn into a life-long injury if you aren’t careful.
If you feel you must train through it, try some unilateral exercises for a while or do some unilateral movements before squats and deads to stretch everything out.

I understand that It could turn into a life long injury. I don’t think it’s serious right now but I don’t want it to get worse. My wife seems to think it could be a muscle strain of the left side back muscles and I could see that. When I first noticed it, it was a pretty noticeable nagging pain but after a few days it was only in the morning and every once and a while. I felt good hence why I tried to get back into the workouts but it still came back so maybe I need a few weeks off

The lower back has muscles. Training your Lower body will train these muscles. Before you worry about an “injury”, consider that you just trained your muscles and are undergoing a normal recovery cycle.

Low back pain is a common and fairly normal human experience. Over 90% of people will have a sore lower back at some point in their lifetime, and thats okay.

Of those 90% of people, the vast majority (again, over 90%) will resolve their symptoms in 2-12 weeks without requiring any special imaging, physiotherapy or rehab exercises. In fact, exercises selected specifically to treat low back are no more effective at improving pain, strength or disability than maintaining general exercise (including strength training). One of the reasons for this is that it is almost impossible to reliably identify a specific cause of lower back pain for 95% of all cases.

You are probably in this vast majority of cases, and rather than spending money of expensive consultations, find exercises that don’t irritate you, train those with significant intensity, and return to deadlifts as comfortable.

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Haven’t read above posts but my 2c

Without a history of a traumatic event like a single moment where u noticed something snap, pop, tear or get hurt etc. it is likely related to load management (so exceeding the load tolerance of something in your back that then gets cranky). Probably related to chronic overload as opposed to one rep, set or even workout. 5x10 DLs is a lot of volume never mind other lower back heavy movements u also do on top of that.

So best case u will be aight in a few days after the back muscle spasms subside. Likely might take a bit more. I’d go see a physio who knows about lifters for assessment and guidance.

In the mean time / short term do stuff that eases your symptoms. Do as much of it as possible. That may include walking and lifting with lighter loads, less ROM etc. Also Mayb hot cold therapy, over the counter pain meds and anti inflammatories. Mayb certain positions feel good. Max these out.

Do as little as possible of stuff that aggravates your symptoms (increases pain stiffness etc). Further exposure to pain will sensitise u to the pain in a pretty nasty cycle.

Continue to move if able and doesn’t aggravate symptoms a lot (a lil bit is ok-ish). This may include DLing still if you are lucky with modifications but can include day to day stuff also. Train around the pain if able… like hamstring curl machine for hammies.

Report back to us on how u go even if u see a physio for input/feedback.

Good luck


I don’t think I’ve torn or popped anything. I’ve been sore. Few days before and either found that doing movements to get back into the routine, like pumping blood into the area, do help. I’ve done rest before and it’s helped. The pain when it started was two to three days of pain getting up and down but after that it only comes and goes. I felt that the pain was minimal to gone so I figured let’s get back into it and found out that wasn’t the case but my biggest worry was how to try to get more blood into the area to help recover. I don’t think I’m in a serious injury but I can see it going that way if I’m not careful and keep doing things that aggravate it. The thing that is weird is that the lower back pain at times sends shocks up my spine at times which isn’t too normal.

If your pain is one sided, I would try to loosen up or roll out the short, tight upper ass and hip muscles on that side. Like your piriformis and glute medius. Those muscles just being tight, not even “hurt” can squeeze nerves and cause you pain.



If you’re looking for moves you could do Pull-Thrus with a band or cable to get that hinge action without any compression or big weights mashing your back.


Then in the future maybe deadlift from blocks for awhile so you don’t have to bend over so far.

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This is stress related. There is no tear on muscles. Just chronic tightness. Make sure you are mentally healthy and sleep deeply. This is not phisycal problem.

How on EARTH did you come to that conclusion, friend?

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Oldest and most expensive school - personal experience. And of course people around me. Also I red a lot of books on the subject. I know, sounds strange. My first reaction was the same. I was denying this for few years. If you dont believe me, track your own mental state and stress level and compare it with your pain level and muscle dysfunction. I can write book about this.

I’m not sure how these two statements align honestly.

most lower back tightness (or pain, regarding deadlifts) is a result of tight hamstrings - occasionally glutes, IT band, or significantly disproportionate strength in opposing muscles. All of these are physical problems, but not necessarily in the scope of injury. Just imbalanced or flexibility related.

OP could have just been new to deadlifts and wasn’t prepared for the crippling pain that ensues after first getting into deadlifts (usually occurs when weight is too heavy for the untrained movement).
Just my unlicensed, non-professional, opinion.

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That is not an appropriate qualification, nor is it evidence for the recommendation you provided

Muscle is nothing without nervous system. And it is all attached to brain. Repressed emotions like anger, can do a lot of damage on the lower back. I don’t want to be smart guy in the comment section, just have a lot of experience with this. Body can heal itself in period of three weeks (muscle rupture, broken bones, scars,…), almost every chronic condition is emotional in its nature. I know it is hard to believe. If you want to know more - google dr. Sarno and TMS, Steve Ozanich, Joe Dispenza, Wise-Anderson protocol, iliopsoas syndrome, mind-body syndrome. If you think this is just bunch of bulls**t (like I did at first), I can totally understand.

Ok friend. I don’t want to be a smarta$$. Just wanted to help.
Have a good recovery.

@Stip3 et al,
As a practitioner of nearly 30 years, who worked in a biomechanics lab for 4 years, taught anatomy for 20 and been very successful in treating all sorts of back pain… I agree with what you have presented here about the mental/emotional aspect of low back pain. (in general too) And like you, it was a difficult pill to swallow after having been a structural expert for years and a rehabilitationist.

It was 2010 when I first began to understand how integrated the body/brain is by working with wounded, ill, and injured soldiers. This was the first time I “prescribed” a book to a patient,“To Be or Not To Be, Pain-Free” by Dr. Marc D. Sopher: She called me up a day later mad that not only did her debilitating low back pain immediately remit upon completing the short book but that she interpreted that as me calling her “crazy”. We became great friends and she became the communications director for our non-profit after that.

As, @j4gga2 has expressed in other discussion threads among other contributors, pain does not equal injury, and injury does not equal pain. This is particularly true of low back pain (LBP). LBP is THE most common pain experienced by human beings. In fact, the number of overlapping potential drivers for pain in this region is staggering! From biomechanical to visceral referral pain. In fact, the number of non-spinal causes for LBP exceeds the number of strict spinal/biomechanical causes.

Mentally/emotionally contributors span from trauma, disempowerment, and the stresses we all face in life. If the pain is chronic (long-lasting past 3 months), chances are it is at least a component and should be seriously considered.

BTW, it is NOT a sign of weakness or lack of manhood to admit this. One of the most GI Joe special forces guys I have had the honor to work with and who had the most horrific LBP with leg pain. He had had fusions and surgeries and seen the best alternative care and rehab specialists and coaches. On a recommendation, he read Dr. John Sarno’s “Mindbody Perscription”: and now he rucks further and workouts harder than 95% of all forum readers/contributors and is a badass again.

The reason I have spent all this time writing this is that back pain is so common. Everyone in this thread made great contributions and there is a ton for @wicat3 to take away and try to help himself. So, great job everyone!

The last question is, @wicat3 how is your back doing now? What have you tried, what helped, what didn’t? Shoot us a follow-up, please!


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Thanks for clearing things and backing me up. I did not believe this can be emotional issue for few years. Now I am 100 % sure.
Still struggeling with my mind but I can see light at the end of a tunnel. My condition is way better.
Pain is always a teacher.