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Lower back pain, sitting, sometimes standing, never during lifts

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  • Lower back pain, sitting, sometimes standing, never during lifts

    Hey guys long time consumer of barbell medicine content and also a member of your Facebook group I really enjoy your content and unfortunately have come into some recent lower back pain. I have been listening to a lot of the pain and Rehab segments and but unfortunately I am still struggling with the pain I have been dealing with.

    After suffering from a couple of injuries immediately following the pandemic (pop, erector tightness, difficulty standing and bending) I have been very careful about my weight choices when dead lifting or squatting sometimes completely stopping these movements, after beginning to listen to your podcasts I have started re-incorporating these things.

    In January I managed to pull over 300 pounds. It has been over a year since I touched that amount of weight and even longer since I previously PRd at about 405 pounds (around 8 years). I was ecstatic and with my lack of pain I continued to lift heavier. It is now the end of March and I have a new PR of 415 pounds on conventional Deadlift (I used to pull sumo), it was fast, and I have more in the tank, but I’m being careful. My squat has also returned to to former levels and I have been able to hit 345 for 3 at RPE 8 which is not something I would have been able to do previously. I have been lifting for more than a decade and I need to continue for my mental and physical health, but this back pain has me in the pain cycle you guys discuss (the unhealthy kind). I might add I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis at the ripe age of 30.

    With all of this said, I have been experiencing low back pain when seated, and sometimes when standing. Occasionally my left erector twitches in a short spasm, but nothing debilitating (doesn’t lock up). It does not radiate down my legs or anything, it is localized in my lower back which feels very tight, none of it is sharp, just constant aching of caring intensity that feels like it travels through SI joints as well. I never have any pain DURING lifts, it’s always after, usually the following day unless I lifted with the pain present already in which case I get it the same day.

    I don’t want to give up my progress, and have lofty goals for this year. What would you suggestion be as far as programming changes?
    Last edited by zwalk; 03-24-2022, 10:59 PM.

  • #2
    Hey, great job on the training progress. This doesn't sound that unusual to me. As my lower back has gotten more muscular and stronger from powerlifting, I've tended to feel more stiff more often than, say, someone who does a ton of cardio.

    This doesn't seem like a training issue. I like the saying "motion is lotion". When you get warmed up, does this stiffness go away or does the pain increase? I'd try incorporating some light cardio and/or stretching into your non-workout mornings. (I'm not advocating for making your workouts longer by adding stretching before you lift. I use the warmup sets of each lift to get warm.) Tons of "lower back stretching" info out there. I like cat-cow stretches, bird dogs, etc. Also, if you have a desk job, maybe try getting up and moving more often during the day. Thanks
    Last edited by sjalbrec; 04-05-2022, 05:25 PM.


    • #3
      I have tried incorporating stretching, and moving around more, problem is I continue to have this lateral pain that feels like nerve pain in my lower back when I sit. I will admit I don’t do much cardio.


      • #4
        Well, I took time off, today I warmed up with my reverse hyper, the bar, then 135, then went to do tempo 225. At the bottom of the squat I got pain localized to my left side and I can’t bend over or air squat without pain.

        I am at a loss. My son is due any day now and I am so freaked out about this lower back pain I don’t know what to do.


        • #5
          Hi there,

          Sorry to hear about this frustrating situation. I will say that taking 90 lb jumps (like from bar to 135 to 225) is typically not our approach in a rehab situation, even if that is a more "routine" jump for someone in their regular training. You may need to start out from the bar and take a few 20-30 lb jumps at a time at first, just to get some movement in and build positive momentum rather than immediately overshooting like this. Alternatively, if sensitivity persists with this strategy, a temporary change of exercise (for example, to a split squat/lunge or box step-up) would be helpful.

          These are strategies outlined in our "Pain in Training" article; the advice from that piece still applies here, but if you are continuing to have trouble with implementation and getting the results you want, a consult with our rehab team would be ideal for individualized guidance.
          Last edited by Austin Baraki; 04-17-2022, 01:40 PM.
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