T Nation

Uh Oh, My Back....


I'm 39 and recently was in the hospital for 2 weeks for a completely unrelated issue. I mention it, because after laying in bed for 2 weeks my lower back was kind of sore. Once out of the hospital I went back to the gym, but took it easy.....or so I thought. After doing deadlifts my back felt really tight - more so than normal, so I took some additional rest. Well, then I moved from my house to an apartment and did some heavy lifting. Now I have a sore lower back with stiffness and pain shooting down my right leg to my ankle.

It is not constant and stretching of my hips and hammy's seem to help. I recently read [i]Press-Up for Back Pain[/i] by Matt Spiller and have started his stretches.

Any advice, warning, etc. is appreciated.


Sorry to hear about your back. If you were on clear liquids in the hospital, you could have lost a major amount of muscle mass -- I know I did.

I would do alot of light stretching along with a heating pad and ice treatments.


I've had a couple lower back strains and they can be painful as hell. The worst part is when you bend just the wrong way and you get a spasm that damn near makes you pass out.

The good news is that I've found that lower back strains heal fairly quickly. I would imagine that a lot of this hinges upon having a relatively healthy lower back to begin with. At any rate, I've had the best luck with rest, mild heat (such as a heating pad), and Ibuprofen. With my last back sprain, ice was a no-go as it would almost immediately cause my back to spasm. If it's possible, try to get up and move around a little during the day and try to incorporate some light stretching so long as it doesn't cause any major discomfort. Good luck.


Just came back from the gym. Started off with a light warm-up (5min walking on treadmill & 5 min stretching) followed by 10 reps of supermans, 5x5 deadlift walks, 5x5 squat presses, 5x5 sternum pulldowns, and 3x8 front two-dumbbell raises (semi-supinated grip).

I feel good. No pain or stiffness. I am really concentrating on maintaining good posture.

A side note: I recently moved across town and quit my old gym, which I was loathe to do as it has 24hr access and a good atmosphere. I eneded up joining a community center with an awesome collection of gear. They actually have a dedicated powerlifting room. I think I counted 7 power racks.

The hours aren't as good, but I do have access to a pool, indoor track, and basketball courts. Oh yeah, plus it adjoins a high school, so I get to be a perv and stare at all the hot girlies. Life is about trade-offs.


You are falling apart dude. You have ease into it after a hospital stay.

We aren't 18 anymore.


Go and buy Magnificent Mobility. I have a pretty fucked up back and the exercises in it are helping tremendously.


I can always count on encouragment from you Zap. I do feel old.

I've been looking at [i]Magnificent Mobility.[/i] I think I wil order it next week.


I found [i]Press-Up for Back Pain[/i] in an article on Dan John's website: http://danjohn.org/gu11.pdf


It's possible the stress from your hospital stay may have influenced cortisol levels which can have an effect on back health. Rest, is basically the only thing you can do for that to let your body recover.

Your muscles or motor patterns may be dysfunctional as well from lying around all day which leads to another endorsement for the Magnificant Mobility program.


uh oh. You messed your back up. You might as well accept it that you're gonna have to quit lifting and always have someone else move things for you. At least thats what I've always seen people who mess up their back do.

Usually they ask me to move the gifuckingantic fridge they bought, but didn't think about how to get it into the house. Oh well, I dont mind people askin me to move stuff. In fact I love the look on their faces when I say no.


Yep, it sounds like a herniated disc. DON'T press it. The slightest thing like bending down to tie your shoe can cause the tisuue to tear, then rupture. Right now it is balloned and weakened. The pain down the butt and leg is your sciatic nerve. Your spinal cord is being pressed against by the balloned disc.

Is there and numbness or tingling associated with this yet?

Work on strengthening your stomach and stretch the hammies too.

Research "Herniated/Ruptured disc" and learn. Deads and squats should be your most avoided excersices when recovering.


I assumed herniated disc as well. That is what led me the Press-up artcile. I am stretching my hammies and hip flexors, and now I am doing press-ups. And just like the article said, my leg pain has gone away. I still have the low back pain, but it is better. I actually did DLs and Squat presses the other day and felt better afterwards. I am not lifting heavy though. I figure I'll give it a few weeks and see an orthopedic if it doesnt get better. It doesn't help that i sit on my ass all day long at work.


I am not a doctor or physical therapist - I'd suggest going to see someone if your condition persists. I am a long time low back pain sufferer - with sciatica and other low extremity problems. I used to spend at least a day per month flat on my back on the floor. The exercise you're showing looks a lot like one of those in "Treat Your Own Back" by Robin McKenzie. It has worked wonders for me in managing the weakness and pain my back - I have (or had) bulging discs at L5 and S1. I would recommend it.

I am surgery averse - I know too many folks who have received back surgery only to have pain come back. I personally think that a lot of spinal surgery attacks the symptoms rather than looking for the structural problem that is causing them.

McKenzie exercises are one part of my personal solution - the other part has been a NUCCA chiropractor.

I'm now at a stage of recovery where I frequently, confidently deadlift and squat heavy...well at least for me.


Well, I just got some really lousy news. It looks like I have bladder cancer. It appears to be a supeficial tumor,which should be cureable. I am falling apart! Minor surgury, a few weeks with no lifting, etc.

However, I will be at the gym tomorrow continuing with my program, and the minute I get post surgery clearance I will continue with the same. I'm not looking for a pity party, but I'm just stating my plan aloud. I do wonder if this relates to my back pain though. Hmmm.


Fuck, dude. You have had a rotten month. Stay strong. Our thoughts are with you.


2 speedbumps. Get to the back side of them and get on the gas.



You'll be in my prayers. Man, I feel for you!


Robin Mackenzie! YES!
I've had a ruptured, herniated, degenerated disk in L5/ S1 spine (lower back) & the Mckenzie method held it at bay for two years (not saying that's what you've got, but the symptoms are similar).

Strenghten your core, listen to your body when you lift to keep it at bay.

Spinal fusion is a last resort, but not the end of the world.
Good luck.


Back update; Still doing the press-ups, etc. I have no leg pain and my back is as close to normal as it has been in a while. I am going to continue with the program and let you know. Press-ups are amazing. Thanks for the tip Dan John!


I was having similar symptoms/experiences. Doc suspected a weakness in the transverse ab. Didn't make sense because the bulk of my training for Strongman focused on developing a strong, solid core (lower back/abdominals).

Anyway, rehab consisting of stretching and Kegels (yes, Kegels). I'm back in the game with no pain and I could literally shoot an apple off the head of dwarf standing some 50 feet away with my projectile... um, you get the picture.

All max-effort training days came to an end for about 3 months. It sucked but it was better than blowing out my back permanently.

If the pain persists and you notice a change in your bowl habits, that's a sign of disc-related injury, according to my physician. Get it checked immediately.

Good luck man. Hope you're back on the mend soon.


Well, I had a bad few weeks. Had the worst pain in my life on the front of my thigh and could not sit, get up, etc. Ended up in the ER and on dilaudid. Got cortizone injected into my spine, MRIs, etc. Turns out I didn't injure myself lifting per se. I do have a bulging disc, but most adults do. However, I have a stenosis (narrowing) that is congenital (as opposed to being degenerative like arthritis). In all likelihood my taking up running is what aggravated it. So, I guess I switch to swimming!! Also, no deads or squats for a while. Boo!