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  • Chronic Lower Back Muscular Pain?

    Hey Austin & Jordan,

    I have been lifting weights now for approximately 8 years. I have suffered with back pain from lifting that for the entirety of those 8 years. It seems to generally appear on either side of my lower back muscles. I have been told I have some Anterior Pelvic Tilt that is likely the issue of my back pain. I have been to countless Powerlifting Trainers & Physiotherapists at this point. I even tried going to a Registered Massage Therapist. I cannot increase my Squats or DL's due to this pain. Even going for a leisurely walk can bring on the back pain. Sometimes when I walk, I can feel it in the middle of my back.

    I have been told I have the idea Squatters build. Short limbs and a long torso. I'm 5'6" and 220 lbs so I need to lose weight. Also, I had an MRI in 2014 due to this pain and the doctor said I have a flat upper back but that shouldn't effect anything. He said the MRI results were normal. Most trainers I see tell me my form looks pretty good. I started with a new trainer last week and he's helping me to stay tighter and to brace better. However, the back pain still shows up during the reps and lingers for days. I have worked on strengthening my abs and my glutes. I have tried tucking my pelvis under me more when walking or squatting but it's all to no avail. I'm currently a student so I do a lot of sitting during my day. Not sure if that's another issue. I'm also a stomach sleeper.

    I'm really tired of this roller coaster ride! I was up to Squatting and Deadlifting around 300 lbs and now I've had to deload again for the hundredth time due to the pain. I really want to be able to Squat 315 lbs for reps and DL 405 lbs for a 1RM. Sadly, I'm getting discouraged. I don't want to give up on Powerlifting because I love it. However, at this point it seems ridiculous to torture myself by making progress and then having to back track to 50% over and over again. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

    ~Shannon

  • #2
    Originally posted by Shannon_Robbie View Post
    Hey Austin & Jordan,

    I have been lifting weights now for approximately 8 years. I have suffered with back pain from lifting that for the entirety of those 8 years. It seems to generally appear on either side of my lower back muscles. I have been told I have some Anterior Pelvic Tilt that is likely the issue of my back pain. I have been to countless Powerlifting Trainers & Physiotherapists at this point. I even tried going to a Registered Massage Therapist. I cannot increase my Squats or DL's due to this pain. Even going for a leisurely walk can bring on the back pain. Sometimes when I walk, I can feel it in the middle of my back.

    I have been told I have the idea Squatters build. Short limbs and a long torso. I'm 5'6" and 220 lbs so I need to lose weight. Also, I had an MRI in 2014 due to this pain and the doctor said I have a flat upper back but that shouldn't effect anything. He said the MRI results were normal. Most trainers I see tell me my form looks pretty good. I started with a new trainer last week and he's helping me to stay tighter and to brace better. However, the back pain still shows up during the reps and lingers for days. I have worked on strengthening my abs and my glutes. I have tried tucking my pelvis under me more when walking or squatting but it's all to no avail. I'm currently a student so I do a lot of sitting during my day. Not sure if that's another issue. I'm also a stomach sleeper.

    I'm really tired of this roller coaster ride! I was up to Squatting and Deadlifting around 300 lbs and now I've had to deload again for the hundredth time due to the pain. I really want to be able to Squat 315 lbs for reps and DL 405 lbs for a 1RM. Sadly, I'm getting discouraged. I don't want to give up on Powerlifting because I love it. However, at this point it seems ridiculous to torture myself by making progress and then having to back track to 50% over and over again. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

    ~Shannon
    Shannon_Robbie sorry to hear about the low back issues. Your story is fairly common with this topic, unfortunately. Pain is quite complex and often has little to do with many of the approaches you've mentioned already. We recently released a low back template I think you'd benefit from. You can either select to run just the template or purchase a bundle package for a 30 minute consult with me, admittance to a community support group via facebook, and regular e-mail check-ups. The bundle will allow me to help individualize the process to you and your situation while guiding the path to your goals. https://www.barbellmedicine.com/prod...mplate-bundle/

    Comment


    • #3
      I was just reading over some posts and just saw this. Dr. Ray if he’s been experiencing this for 8 years with NO improvement, shouldn’t he be looking into surgery at this point? He’s tried to reduce the weight and thrived conservative stuff before surgery but 8 years seems to long and excessive to me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shafiqblake View Post
        I was just reading over some posts and just saw this. Dr. Ray if he’s been experiencing this for 8 years with NO improvement, shouldn’t he be looking into surgery at this point? He’s tried to reduce the weight and thrived conservative stuff before surgery but 8 years seems to long and excessive to me.
        Shafiq, it is becoming quite frustrating to engage with you on this topic.

        What, specifically, do you propose they get surgery on? They -- just like you -- had a normal MRI. Do you just go in and start cutting things out to see what happens?

        Furthermore, regardless of this MRI question, the evidence on surgery for chronic nonspecific back pain suggests that it does not work particularly well, if at all. If surgery doesn't tend to work, just because someone has experienced pain for a longer amount of time does not suddenly make it a good choice.
        IG / YT

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Shafiqblake View Post
          I was just reading over some posts and just saw this. Dr. Ray if he’s been experiencing this for 8 years with NO improvement, shouldn’t he be looking into surgery at this point? He’s tried to reduce the weight and thrived conservative stuff before surgery but 8 years seems to long and excessive to me.
          Shafiqblake I'm curious, how did you arrive at such a conclusion?

          Comment


          • #6
            The pain has recently started to get worse. I was Squatting 10 x 3r @ 245 lbs a few weeks ago and felt OK. Then yesterday I tried and had to stop after the second set with the same weight. I felt pain in the middle of my back. It freaked me out so I stopped. This is a real let down!

            Comment


            • #7
              There are likely a few issues at play here.

              1) Your programming and management of training loads may be inappropriate. Could you describe what your programming looks like a bit more?

              2) You note that you felt pain, immediately freaked out, and stopped. This is the sort of negative learned behavior that we should be working to modify. A formal consult with our coaches would help facilitate this in a more efficient way, but if not, lots of our content on pain (e.g., youtube, podcasts, etc.) talks about how to manage these sorts of situations. Given that it is not realistic to expect to live with zero pain for the rest of your life, how do you think you can respond to these sorts of episodes in a more productive way in the future?
              IG / YT

              Comment


              • Shannon_Robbie
                Shannon_Robbie commented
                Editing a comment
                Austin, I was following Wendler's Powerlifting 3/5/1 program. Then I had to deload due to lower back muscular pain so I then just switched to a basic linear progression program with each compound lift having it's own day and then following the compound movement up with 2 accessory lifts.

                Yes I suffer from anxiety so I'm sure freaking out isn't helping matters but it's hard to stop myself sometimes!

            • #8
              Originally posted by Shannon_Robbie View Post
              Hey Austin & Jordan,

              I have been lifting weights now for approximately 8 years. I have suffered with back pain from lifting that for the entirety of those 8 years. It seems to generally appear on either side of my lower back muscles. I have been told I have some Anterior Pelvic Tilt that is likely the issue of my back pain. I have been to countless Powerlifting Trainers & Physiotherapists at this point. I even tried going to a Registered Massage Therapist. I cannot increase my Squats or DL's due to this pain. Even going for a leisurely walk can bring on the back pain. Sometimes when I walk, I can feel it in the middle of my back.

              I have been told I have the idea Squatters build. Short limbs and a long torso. I'm 5'6" and 220 lbs so I need to lose weight. Also, I had an MRI in 2014 due to this pain and the doctor said I have a flat upper back but that shouldn't effect anything. He said the MRI results were normal. Most trainers I see tell me my form looks pretty good. I started with a new trainer last week and he's helping me to stay tighter and to brace better. However, the back pain still shows up during the reps and lingers for days. I have worked on strengthening my abs and my glutes. I have tried tucking my pelvis under me more when walking or squatting but it's all to no avail. I'm currently a student so I do a lot of sitting during my day. Not sure if that's another issue. I'm also a stomach sleeper.

              I'm really tired of this roller coaster ride! I was up to Squatting and Deadlifting around 300 lbs and now I've had to deload again for the hundredth time due to the pain. I really want to be able to Squat 315 lbs for reps and DL 405 lbs for a 1RM. Sadly, I'm getting discouraged. I don't want to give up on Powerlifting because I love it. However, at this point it seems ridiculous to torture myself by making progress and then having to back track to 50% over and over again. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

              ~Shannon
              Hey, Shannon

              I'm a fellow traveler on this low back pain road. Like you, I've been to several chiros, massage therapists, and doctors without improvement. I've also been on the deload roller coaster. No doubt about it, this pain has also interfered with my powerlifting training and quality of life, so I think I can empathize. The good news is that low back pain is normal. It doesn't have to be the end of your powerlifting career and it probably isn't the result of anything mechanically wrong with you. With the podcasts, templates, and resources available through BBM, I've been able to manage my low back pain and train consistently. I've been training since 2011, following BBM programming since May 2018, and began competing this year. You haven't offered much detail when it comes to your training, but based on my experience, here are the most practical takeaways I can offer:

              1) Use your belt only on platform/competition style lifts.
              2) Take advantage of tempo work and sets in the 8-12 range.
              3) Consider using RPE as a training tool.
              4) Sumo deadlift isn't a total solution, but it has helped me train around (and at times through) low back pain.
              5) Incorporate partial ranges of motion (block pulls, box squats, etc.) and train up to the point of pain.
              6) Remember: there are some days where pain just doesn't make sense. Can't get out of bed, but can PR a set of 5 on squat without pain.

              Comment


              • Shannon_Robbie
                Shannon_Robbie commented
                Editing a comment
                Glad to hear I'm not alone in this battle of lower back pain vs. PR's. Thanks for the tips!
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