T Nation

Tight/Contracted Erectors/Low Back Pain


I've been to an orthopedist today due to some back pain in my lower back.
It started a few weeks ago, and at a time I would feel an annoying pain every time I stepped (right side, went through leg). It stopped. After that, some warmth in my low back. Now, pain if I let myself bend excesivelly backwards without contracting my abs or if I twist a lot to the left.

I also seem to have some proeminent vertebrae around, I think L4 or L5.....and am now praying it isn't spondylolisthesis.
Back to the orthopedist, I should be getting a X-ray next. She also mentioned my erectors were very "contracted". She told me to use a muscle relaxant,A centrally acting muscle relaxant that has been used for the symptomatic treatment of spasticity and muscle spasm.>

Should I use it? Also, what else can I do? Massage?
I asked about stretching, and the doctor said that at how tense my muscle are any work might result in a herniated disk. I read that trainging the antagonist relaxes a muscle, would crunches/l-sits/leg-raises help?

Many thanks, Vlad
P.S.:as soon as I get the X-ray done I'll tell you if there's any structural problem. btw, anyone else have proeminent vertebrae troughout the spine?


Dude, sounds like a ruptured disc. Pain through the leg and a tight lower back points to muscles tightness trying to give extra support to the L4-5....probably 5. An x ray will do nothing....you need and MRI...


wtf...I'm only 18.
The pain in the leg is now gone...ruptured disk? :((
Does this mean I'm off heavy deads/squats/OH presses forever? :((
Oh, and thanks...


Just be carefull. I ruptured mine at 21...so nobody is invincable.


Definately do the MRI, but don't get too worried until you get the results. I had an enflamed sciatica nerve, which is often caused by a ruptered or herniated disk, causing me similar pain. Turned out it wasn't a problem with the disk, but was instead a result of swelling in the muscles of my lower back from a hockey injury that was putting pressure on the nerve. Icing it twice a day for 2 weeks, anti-inflammatories, and rest fixed the problem.

I am not recommending you do any of those things, other then the MRI, but I did want to point out that it isn't necessarily a ruptured disk. Get it looked at by a professional as soon as possible.


Since the pain is gone now, I think it could have been a "Bulged disc" only. But still he needs to be carefull.


my back hurts too, although not as bad in the legs. what stretches and preventative measures can i take so the pain goes away and doesnt get worse.


Lay on back and pull each knee tight to chest 30sec each..then both. Lay on left side..put right leg over (knee at waist level and reach to the right slowly with rigth hand. Repeat other side.


btw, what about the contracted muscles?
Should I take the muscle relaxant? What should I do?


Contracted muscles may be a function of pure muscle or neurogenic tension.

In the former case, I would suspect that it has to do with your glutes not firing; this is actually quite common, and Mike and I go to great lengths to discuss corrective drills to address the issue in our Magnificent Mobility DVD.

In the latter case, you can actually get tension secondary to disc problems. In many cases, stretching will actually make the problems worse.

Either way, enhancing your hip mobility and lumbar spine stability are important goals.



its interesting that this has come up at this time.
my own experiences:

have had pretty severe lower back pain for the last year and half to two years.
however when i do deads i find that this is theraputic (afterwards).

i have also found that if i purposely sleep on my stomach for even a short time that is also theraputic for me as in no pain for the early part of the next day.

recently i have been goig to an ART specialist, that is also a chiropracter and biomechanic here in the chicago area.

unfortunatly not too much success here. however he did tell me that my lower spine was acting like it was fused, so he got that back to working. but i do still have the same pain.

the pain is when i do anything that is using those lower back muscels, as in leaning over-forwards i.e. mopping a floor.

i have found that if i rotate my pelvis top rearward-bottom forward and tighten lower abs the pain abates considerably.

an xray was taken , showed nothing.
i also so use an inversion table and it seems to help somewhat.

i have recently started doing overhead squats and this same as deadlifts appears to be theraputic even during as well as afterwards.

best of luck to you, one other thing i am 45, and have led a relatively physical life.


So I should be buying the MM DVD. I'll try. Many thanks. And get the MRI/X-ray.
I guess I'll also check the Get Your Butt in Gear articles.


I slept on my stomach last night...it felt sooooooooooo good. :smiley:
Well, deads used to help, but I once lifted a sandbag (already had pain in the back)...I then felt something really weird in my back... I'm not ever again touching a sandbag.

Well, I still want to know what should I do about the muscle relaxant.
Thanks, Vlad


Had a problem that sounded almost exactly like this and it was caused by my piece of shit matress. If your matress is old of concave definately get a new one.


Update: as I was sitting in front of the computer, I felt something in my back, and then a slight numbness went from my back all the way to my calves and toes. Yeyyyy. I'm starting to think I'm fucked up. I'll see about an MRI on Monday.

Edit: well, in romanian, fingers and toes are the same, and sometimes I forget to write toes...update: feeling it in the right leg, now, too.


You mean calves and toes right?


hey thanks for all the added thought material peeps.

BlackThorn, what you are describing sounds a lot like a ruptured disk. not wanting to undo your day there fella but you really should get on to a qualified doc and find out whats really going on there.


Please tell that I won't wake up paralysed next morning... :frowning:


I think it's not rutured. When ruptured, the pain is constant and close to an 8 out of 10...make a wrong move and 9-10 comes out and throbs on you.

You should do an MRI. Xray will show nothing. I think you have a buldged disc. This means it ballons out and hits your spinal cord and nerves and gives you pain at times and the back is tight too. The outer layer of disc cartilage is likely still in tact, but definately stressed, just as a ballon is stessed...then pops. We want to avoid the pop.

MAKE SURE YOU STOP LOADING THE SPINE FOR 2 WEEKS at least. Once you break the outer layer of the disc...it's all over.

You won't be paralyzed, just in unbearable, squirming, sheet ripping pain!


Today I went skating and I feel just fine. :slight_smile: Well, no more 1 arm db standing militaries for me... I guess crunches and leg raises are also out, right? Push-ups? Can I still chin?
Or should I start developing a certain love for lying presses and extensions,at least for the time being?
And what should I do about the muscle relaxant? Let's just say I trust people around here more than certain doctors (since some docs told me to do straight leg sit-ups "to strenghten my abs so they can support my back" and bodyweight sissy squats to "strengthen" my legs X( )
Thanks Rockscar :slight_smile: