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Training Lower Back After Injury

I recently re-tore a lot of muscle tissue in my lower back. I had previously done this about 3 years ago deadlifting with shitty form and to much weight, the Doctor said that i just re-tore the same tissue - although this time at work. I was out of work in bed for about a week, just recently got off of Naprosin/Flexoral meds, my back is still a little sore day to day but i am planning on making my first day back at the gym tomarrow after over a month off. My question concerned my back
training.

How can i slowly ease myself back into deadlifting/pin pulls etc.? I am VERY scared to injure my back again - as of right now it feels like it is around 75% strong - and not getting any stronger. Is there strength training exercises that i can do such as hypers or somethin that can help prepare and strengthen my back for deadlifting etc. again? or should i just start off very light and slowly work my way back up?

The Doctor told me that my lower back will never be as strong or risk free as it was before the injury, but i am hoping that there is a chance of going back to heavy lifting without risking another muscle pull. Thank you for your time.

[quote]JeffMerr wrote:
I recently re-tore a lot of muscle tissue in my lower back. I had previously done this about 3 years ago deadlifting with shitty form and to much weight, the Doctor said that i just re-tore the same tissue - although this time at work. I was out of work in bed for about a week, just recently got off of Naprosin/Flexoral meds, my back is still a little sore day to day but i am planning on making my first day back at the gym tomarrow after over a month off. My question concerned my back
training.

How can i slowly ease myself back into deadlifting/pin pulls etc.? I am VERY scared to injure my back again - as of right now it feels like it is around 75% strong - and not getting any stronger. Is there strength training exercises that i can do such as hypers or somethin that can help prepare and strengthen my back for deadlifting etc. again? or should i just start off very light and slowly work my way back up?

The Doctor told me that my lower back will never be as strong or risk free as it was before the injury, but i am hoping that there is a chance of going back to heavy lifting without risking another muscle pull. Thank you for your time.[/quote]

I hurt my back doing romanian dLifts with bad form. I didn’t tear muscle, though, i sublaxated a disc (pinched nerve).

i took a lot of time off.

and then i began doing romanian deadlifts again, with about 60 pounds total weight!

i’d do sets of 30.

i let myself go up 5 pounds every two weeks or so.

I don’t know if this is a good plan for you, as our injuries are different. It took a lot of patience for me to work with those light weights, but I refused to hurt my back again.

I found doing this (in combination with lots of spine stretching - especially twists) actually took away all of my back pain.

When I don’t lift, the pain actually returns.

It is funny how the movement that injured me - is the same movement I use to rehab and maintain that injury. It is all about having correct form, and the right weight for you.

When I do romanian deadlifts now, I don’t just keep my back straight, I keep it a tiny bit on the arched side of straight.

Be careful - go slow - remember the saying “To fight the disease is to keep the disease - go with the disease to lose the disease.”

An injury is an opportunity to say to yourself “I am never getting injured again.”

Not in the sense that you give up your sport. But in the sense that you insist on doing it correctly and safely - because you love it and want to be able to continue until you are old, dead, and buried.

It is hard to make gains while injured.

wow… sounds a lot like something i went through about a year ago.

i injured my back when i was 17, pulling 405 with bad form. although i knew good technique and virtually always had amazing technique with deadlifts, i didn’t understand at that age that training progression wasn’t a linear line upwards. i thought i was supposed to be stronger every week compared to last week, and every workout compared to the previous workout. boy was i wrong. i was also maxing out on deadlifts every time i did them. needless to say, i forced it up and really hurt my back. i felt pain shooting up and down my body and lost my vision for about 15-30 seconds.

it never felt the same after that. also, over time i could feel my back degenerating in terms of its flexibility. and over the years, avoiding uncomfortable stretched positions i began to lose flexibility in hips, hamstrings, groin, and lower back. the more i avoided simple things like bending over to tie my shoes or picking up something i dropped on the ground, the more and more my flexibility degenerated. and i simply kept plowing forward. big mistake.

fast forward to age 22. my flexility is bad, i haven’t done regular deadlifts with heavy weight in maybe a year and a half, and i’m even skipping conventional squats because that irritates my back. i couldn’t even bend forward like 6 inches! so i resorted to front squats which involve less back flexion. i’m warming up with 135 and i feel this inflammation in my back. i rack the weight and i can barely stand. i go lay down on a gym mat for like 15 minutes and decide to go home due to the pain. i go home, take a nap for a couple of hours, when i wake up and can barely make it out of bed.

the next day i couldn’t even move. i was virtually on the floor for a week. it was scary as hell. i took the same anti-inflammatories you took and did some physio and gradually began walking again and then hitting the gym again.

all the advice i can give you is to trust your physiotherapist if he/she deserves your trust, and trust your instincts in the gym. if you know you shouldn’t do a particular exercise, don’t do it.

me, i rested my back for a long time after i started recovering. i didn’t do deadlifts, rows, or any of that shit for awhile. i did chins, i monitored my back arch when benching , etc…

use your judgement, over time the rest will allow your back to recover.

here i am, about 2 years after that horrible experience and i just pulled 600 pounds from knee level . and i’m benching again with a good arch <not as good as prior to my injury, though> and hitting 315 for singles any day i want <did 325 today for 1>.

you will recover, trust your judgement and instincts, don’t do exercises that your body is afraid of, be patient, stretch out appropriately and increase your flexiblity in your hips, groin, hamstrings, and lower back, take it as slow as you feel you need to…

take it from me, you will be ok!

also, to be specific, my injury was severe compression of L5/S1, specifically on my left side. and i’ve been diagnosed with degenrative disc disease… but i’m still rocking!

Thanks for the reply’s guys, really informative. Unfortunatly i do not trust my physician, this is why i have come to the internet to try and find answers. My physician is the typical “don’t workout if it hurts” generic answer type.

Is there any type of stretching or strength training exercises that can help your lower back gain it’s flexability and strength? I think for now i am going to avoid deadlifts, i am thinking i will start off with light pin pulls, high reps, light weight, and maybe in a few months move into sumo DL so that my back slowly gets adjusted to pulling weight again, what do you guys think?

[quote]JeffMerr wrote:
Thanks for the reply’s guys, really informative. Unfortunatly i do not trust my physician, this is why i have come to the internet to try and find answers. My physician is the typical “don’t workout if it hurts” generic answer type.

Is there any type of stretching or strength training exercises that can help your lower back gain it’s flexability and strength? I think for now i am going to avoid deadlifts, i am thinking i will start off with light pin pulls, high reps, light weight, and maybe in a few months move into sumo DL so that my back slowly gets adjusted to pulling weight again, what do you guys think?[/quote]

i don’t know what the advantage of doing high reps is with those back exercises. you should probably just give your back a break COMPLETELY. only do stuff that doesn’t cause further strain or compression or significant wear and tear.

stick with chins, chest-supported back machines, cable work, dumbell rows, etc.

leave your lower back alone as much as possible. if you can handle squats that should be enough. before you know it you’ll be back to rack pulls, etc. but if the injury is still very fresh i do not see any advantage to doing high rep lower back pulling work. the tissues are still inflamed and damaged, they do not need to perform any more extra resistance work. stick with active recovery that doesn’t strain the muscles like some form of low impact cardio and stretching.

Number one, not being able to deadlift is not the end of the world. That being said, do not even think about them actually. I’ve been through quite a few of these injuries and let them heal themselves except for the last one almost three months ago.

It got so bad that I finally went to see my doctor and he said that each time I had injured my back never once did I rehab it. I had been to the chiropractor but never physical therapy. The therapy included MAT and exercises that I had to do throughout the day. I just had my follow up today and am cleared to do a rehab program that my cousin had written up for me.

I think you need to rehab it and if your doctor won’t help you out with a referral, go see another one. You should at least get some soft tissue work done; MAT or ART. I don’t have the workout on hand but I will post it if you want it.

Would hyper extentions without any weight be beneficial?

no, because there’s no need to strengthen the lower back, really. it’s not because the muscles need to get stronger, but because there’s been structural damage which simply needs time to recover and heal properly.

of course, if hyperextensions are comfortable, do them.

you really need to trust your instincts and show humility before your injury. don’t be stubborn and force work onto your lower back that it is not yet ready to handle.

[quote]hueyOT wrote:
you really need to trust your instincts and show humility before your injury. don’t be stubborn and force work onto your lower back that it is not yet ready to handle.[/quote]

Which is exactly why I did my back exercises with high reps.

About 6 weeks ago, I was doing squats and felt something let go in my lower right back-- historically a problematic S.I. Joint. Went to Chiro for about 5 weeks and had some good recovery but there was a nagging pain and feeling of weakness that I never had before.

I woke up one morning and it was all I could do to get out of bed, and chiro was on vacation-- so, went to D.O. had some xrays done and found that I have DDD, and L5/S1 disc was compressed in the back (ie bulging forward toward stomach). It seems that most similar disc injuries I’ve read about are the opposite where the disc herniates toward the back-- is that more common?

Powerlifts are done for awhile with a stern “No hyperextention movements”.

I find that laying over a stability ball and letting my legs hang free stretches and ‘decompresses’ my back a bit for relief. I guess similar to ‘Cox Technique’ that chiros use.

Anyone experience similar injuries? Have you recovered back to being able to do full body lifts again (DLs, Sqts, etc)?

Here’s an article by Billy Mimnaugh:
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/how_i_got_strong.htm

I too have Sciatica and a right knee problem.
I’m just concentrating on building muscle with any movement that does hurt hurt me. I’m doing lots of bodyweight squats, pulls ups with the knees held up like I’m doing hanging knee raises, Dumbbell presses, shrugs, rows as opposed to a barbell cause that way both the sides of my muscle get equal stimulation ( I have gross muscle imbalances). I also do mobility drills.

Rather than hypers, I would recommend reverse hypers. If you don’t have it, just do them off a table or stool or a bed. Thats what I do.

You might want to read the articles and books like Stuart McGill. Regarding what you guys were saying about strength v/s endurance, McGill recommends high reps for endurance.

[quote]Azrael wrote:
Here’s an article by Billy Mimnaugh:
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/how_i_got_strong.htm

I too have Sciatica and a right knee problem.
I’m just concentrating on building muscle with any movement that does hurt hurt me. I’m doing lots of bodyweight squats, pulls ups with the knees held up like I’m doing hanging knee raises, Dumbbell presses, shrugs, rows as opposed to a barbell cause that way both the sides of my muscle get equal stimulation ( I have gross muscle imbalances). I also do mobility drills.

Rather than hypers, I would recommend reverse hypers. If you don’t have it, just do them off a table or stool or a bed. Thats what I do.

You might want to read the articles and books like Stuart McGill. Regarding what you guys were saying about strength v/s endurance, McGill recommends high reps for endurance. [/quote]

McGill also advises against doing rev hypers due to excessive sheering.