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Upper Back Pain after Deadlifts (mostly)

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  • Upper Back Pain after Deadlifts (mostly)

    Hello, Doctors!

    I've been running your beginner template for a while now with great success, so thanks for that!

    I'm also familiar with (some) of your pain content, have read "pain training what do?" and I think I have some grasp on your way of thinking. I have applied it to my chronic lumbar pain with great success and have had good results.

    Having said that, I have been dealing with pain in what I think is the "latissimus dorsi" area, to the right (excuse me if I'm wrong here, I just googled "dorsal muscles names" and I think that's the place), it's basically mid rib up until under the shoulder blades, to the right. The pain started small and for the past weeks has been creeping up, here's the problem: It doesn't bother me during a heavy deadlift, meaning when I brace and pull, I feel almost nothing, but as soon as I stop bracing and let go of the bar the pain comes back, and I noticed deadlifts are making it worse. So far I have just tried to "ignore" it since it didn't hinder my training, but since the pain level is rising steadily - albeit slowly - I realised I didn't know what to do here. Do I go lighter on my deadlifts until this pain dissipates? Do I keep ignoring it and training? I have just finished a deadlift session and the whole area feels very stiff and it's bothering me a bit, nothing major, but just wanna be sure I'm approaching this correctly.

    Thanks for your time and sorry about the long text.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Glad you've found our content helpful. I think we would probably apply a similar approach here. You may benefit from going lighter, and/or temporarily altering the exercise selection to facilitate recovery. For example, if you're used to doing heavy sets of 1-5 on conventional deadlifts, temporarily introducing an eccentric tempo component, pauses, or even swapping for higher-rep sets of moderate-stance sumo deadlifts.
    IG / YT

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Austin Baraki View Post
      Hi there,

      Glad you've found our content helpful. I think we would probably apply a similar approach here. You may benefit from going lighter, and/or temporarily altering the exercise selection to facilitate recovery. For example, if you're used to doing heavy sets of 1-5 on conventional deadlifts, temporarily introducing an eccentric tempo component, pauses, or even swapping for higher-rep sets of moderate-stance sumo deadlifts.
      Hey Doc, thanks for the answer and sorry for posting it on the wrong section, I realised it too late.

      I have never done any kind of deadlift variation except for RDL, I have purchased the beginner template and powerbuilding 1 (which I still haven't used), is there anywhere I could learn the proper movement? Can't recall seeing those variations examples at the bottom of the PDF of the beginner template.

      Those all sound like good ideas, will definitely experiment with them! Thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Austin Baraki View Post
        Hi there,

        Glad you've found our content helpful. I think we would probably apply a similar approach here. You may benefit from going lighter, and/or temporarily altering the exercise selection to facilitate recovery. For example, if you're used to doing heavy sets of 1-5 on conventional deadlifts, temporarily introducing an eccentric tempo component, pauses, or even swapping for higher-rep sets of moderate-stance sumo deadlifts.

        Hey doc!

        Still having this problem, unfortunately.. Problem is I can desensitize fine during the exercise, been trying sumo variations with higher reps and less weight, I feel a tolerable pain during the exercise, but the next few days the pain comes back strong, so I feel like I'm on a loop here hehe.

        It started to affect my OHP and Barbell Rows as well, it's somewhere mid back.

        Been thinking about switching to just below the knees block pulls to see if it makes a difference. Problem is that when I lockout at the top I actually "feel" it.

        Gotta say it's easier said than done doing all the steps for dealing with pain. I'm not afraid it's a serious injury or anything (thanks to your material), but the fact it's been hindering my training (one of the best parts of my day) is really bugging me.

        I guess if I had to sum it up: haven't been able to find a good entry point yet.

        Thanks for the help, anyway!
        Last edited by Daniel Earp; 09-04-2020, 11:24 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Austin Baraki View Post
          temporarily introducing an eccentric tempo component,
          Have you experimented with these elements yet?

          I was in a very similar situation with regard to pain after lifting, primarily in my shoulder. What really seemed to help me get past it was introducing very low-weight, fairly high-reps presses with a heavy emphasis on the eccentric part of the motion. It took some time, and required a pretty aggressive change of mindset, but after a few months of sticking with it, I was able to return to performing presses normally with no meaningful pain, during or after the lift.

          If you haven't already tried them, try switching to lighter weights and tempo deadlifts. Pay attention to your pain levels, and try to stay within tolerance, and you may find that over time, the weight goes up as the pain goes down.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DorianStarbuck View Post

            Have you experimented with these elements yet?

            I was in a very similar situation with regard to pain after lifting, primarily in my shoulder. What really seemed to help me get past it was introducing very low-weight, fairly high-reps presses with a heavy emphasis on the eccentric part of the motion. It took some time, and required a pretty aggressive change of mindset, but after a few months of sticking with it, I was able to return to performing presses normally with no meaningful pain, during or after the lift.

            If you haven't already tried them, try switching to lighter weights and tempo deadlifts. Pay attention to your pain levels, and try to stay within tolerance, and you may find that over time, the weight goes up as the pain goes down.

            Hey Dorian, thanks for the reply!

            I have not, but will try it out today. I was doing 4 reps for 130kg RPE 8 before the injury, so I'm gonna try to do tempo with bar weight only (20kg) and see how it goes from there, maybe I'll add 20kg at each side because with only bar weight I need to get blocks cause of the deficit height.

            I can squat fine with the same amount of weight as before, feeling only very slight pain mid back, do you think I should also go down in weights in my squats? My "worry" is that the heavy squats - although not hurting a lot - are hindering my recovery, I don't know if that makes sense.

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            • #7
              Did both sumo eccentric tempo and conventional eccenctric tempo today, both with low weight (60kg total), pain was ok, didn't hurt a lot but it certainly got a little more sensitive during the session. I went on to do my regular bench press session and regular low bar squat session and both felt ok, back hurt somewhat during them but nothing major. It usually hurts a bit more when I finish the exercise, not during, that goes for the deadlifts as well.

              Gonna see how my body reacts today and tomorrow to assess if the eccentric tempo deadlift is the right way for me to recover.

              I'm really focusing on "not being focused" on the pain, if that makes sense hehe. Just trying to relax and not worry about it. I'm an anxious person so it isn't always easy but I'm doing my best. Compared to where I was 1 year ago ("never gonna lift again, my lower back is wrecked for life, etc"), I think I made some real progress, and I have you guys to thank for it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DorianStarbuck View Post
                but after a few months of sticking with it, I was able to return to performing presses normally with no meaningful pain, during or after the lift.
                Gald to hear you're seeing positive results! I wanted to re-emphasize this component, as well. These sorts of pains can often take a lot of patience to work through. Often, you're unlearning behaviors and responses that may have developed over a long period of time.

                In my experience, there were quite a few days that felt like I was backtracking, and pain would come at a higher degree than I'd anticipated on some days. But it's important to view these as inevitable parts of the process. The longer term trend is far more important than daily setbacks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DorianStarbuck View Post

                  Have you experimented with these elements yet?

                  I was in a very similar situation with regard to pain after lifting, primarily in my shoulder. What really seemed to help me get past it was introducing very low-weight, fairly high-reps presses with a heavy emphasis on the eccentric part of the motion. It took some time, and required a pretty aggressive change of mindset, but after a few months of sticking with it, I was able to return to performing presses normally with no meaningful pain, during or after the lift.

                  If you haven't already tried them, try switching to lighter weights and tempo deadlifts. Pay attention to your pain levels, and try to stay within tolerance, and you may find that over time, the weight goes up as the pain goes down.
                  Hey, listen, I had something similar. Sharp pain in my neck and shoulder, I just couldn't do anything, sit, lie down, or walk. Against the backdrop of this constant pain I became irritable, depressed and apathetic. Honestly, I didn't know what to do already, I kept snapping at everyone, my wife almost left me after I snapped at her. My wife took me to the doctor, he said it was because of sedentary work and nervous breakdowns. The doctor advised me to take kratom capsules. To be honest, I doubted that it would help me in any way, but my wife ordered them and made them take a few days. I was very surprised when I felt better after a few days. The fact that I am now alive and well I owe my beloved. I hope my experience will help you.
                  Last edited by OliviaCampbell; 11-13-2020, 08:35 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey Daniel,

                    How did this injury and healing ultimately go for you? I've been dealing with a very similar injury for a couple of months and finally made an appointment to see a sports med ortho. Just feeling pretty discouraged at the moment. Thanks.

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