Recurring lower back injury and pain Recurring lower back injury and pain

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Thread: Recurring lower back injury and pain

  1. #1
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    Default Recurring lower back injury and pain

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    I'm a 6'0, 275lbs 28 year old man. I started lifting again in April after 3 years off and a huge weight gain of around 90 pounds. Due to my previous strength training (5 years before I stopped), I managed to add a decent amount of weight to all my lifts in the span of a month while doing SS. By early May, I had a 308lbs 3x5 squat and a 397lbs 1x5 deadlift.

    My first injury occurred during an attempt at a 402lbs deadlift. On the first rep, I felt a sudden sharp pain on the right side of my lower back while the bar was barely off the ground. I consider myself an experienced lifter, having lifted much higher figures earlier in my life but I cannot rule out a form problem as the cause of that injury as I had no one watching me. That day I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes, but after 3 days the pain somewhat subsided and became more of an annoyance. I decided to rest for 10 days, and by day 11 all I felt was minor tightness occasionally but no pain.

    On the 11th day , I went back in and attempted to find where my squat weight was. I slowly built up to 286lbs and managed to do a set of 5. Then during the 3rd rep of the 2nd set, I felt the same kind of sharp pain during the very last part of the movement. In this instance I was sure the form wasn't a problem as I was very careful, and figured that the injury simply hadn't healed properly. I decided to give myself a huge amount of time to recover this time, and only went to the gym again yesterday after 2 months.

    Yesterday, I started squatting carefully and built up to 225lbs without problems. I decided to stay at this weight for the first workout, since the 1st set didn't cause me any discomfort. During the 2nd set however, I started feeling back tightness with each rep (but no pain, at least not sharp enough pain to be perceptible mid-rep). After the 2nd set I decided not to push it further, and noticed a very minor lingering pain after a few minutes of rest. It still wasn't anything near what I had felt the first 2 times, so I brushed it off and went on to do bench press with no issues. Post-workout however, the pain kept getting sharper until about 2 hours in, when it had become as intense as the first 2 times. Today it's somewhat milder, but still there.

    My question is basically what I should do if this problem persisnts. I plan on doing an MRI, but I know that no matter the results the chances are that the doctor will tell me to simply stop lifting. I really don't want to do that, or to stop squatting and dling, but I also cannot have my back immobilizing me for 2-3 days at a time every once in a while. I don't know how I could work on strengthening my back, when all the exercises that do that cause the same injury again and again. I'm really at my whit's end, and due to living in a small eastern European country I don't have access to coaches or sports doctors with the degree of knowledge necessary to help me in this situation. And even if I did, most professionals here would simply tell an amateur athlete to stop doing what he's doing. Thank you in advance and sorry for the extremely long post.

  2. #2
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    You do have access to coaches and medical professionals with the degree of knowledge necessary to help in this situation. We have an entire network of coaches and medical professionals who operate remotely. I have, myself, worked with individuals in Australia, Slovakia, Norway, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, and a handful of other smaller countries around the world. The necessary disclaimer to this fact is simply: you do not have access to these professionals, by in large, for free. You have to be willing to pay someone with the necessary skill set to assist you, as though they have earned the right to be paid for their services.

    I could provide you with a list of world class coaches and clinicians that would be more than happy to assist you.

  3. #3
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    I understand your logic, but unfortunately it's almost impossible for someone with an average Serbian salary to solicit an American professional's advice, who obviously expects to get paid by American rates. Scrolling through the forums, I see that some people get useful information as a response to these threads, while others get the "pay me and I'll tell you" response. The reason I posted this in a forum and I didn't contact you personally for a consultation was in hopes of getting some general advice. Thank you for your response nonetheless, maybe someone else had similar experiences and might be able to provide some insight.

  4. #4
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    Direct, uninvolved questions get direct, general answers. When you ask me to spend 15 minutes reading your history with one nebulous question contained somewhere in the midst of your narrative, Iím going to respond that you need a personal consultation.

    If you ask a genuinely unique question that benefits the community outside of what I have already answered or lectured on dozens of times before, I will consider adding that to my pro bono work for the week.

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    I am sorry if my post wasn't coherent enough, for English isn't my first language. If I were to condense it, the jist of it is that I concurrently injured my lower back 3 times, the first time during a deadlift and the other 2 times during a squat. The 3rd injury happened after a 2 month rest period, with a lot less weight than the other 2. My questions are if you believe these injuries will be a recurring phenomenon, and at which point would it be wise (if at any) to simply give up squatting and deadlifting altogether. Also if the latter was to happen, if there's anything that could at least somehow compensate for the removal of squats and deadlifts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KostKal View Post
    I am sorry if my post wasn't coherent enough, for English isn't my first language. If I were to condense it, the jist of it is that I concurrently injured my lower back 3 times, the first time during a deadlift and the other 2 times during a squat. The 3rd injury happened after a 2 month rest period, with a lot less weight than the other 2. My questions are if you believe these injuries will be a recurring phenomenon, and at which point would it be wise (if at any) to simply give up squatting and deadlifting altogether. Also if the latter was to happen, if there's anything that could at least somehow compensate for the removal of squats and deadlifts.
    I think this history leads to the assumption that your technique is variable or your programming is faulty. It very likely is either of those two things. Having a two month rest period with an immediate injury after does not fit an orthopaedic pattern. Most injuries heal very well within 6 weeks, though healing is not always complete with a long lay off.

    Will these be recurrent? Unfortunately, I do believe they will be recurrent. I believe this because you have defaulted (no fault of your own) to believing the squat and the deadlift are the causative factors. If we cannot get you to rethink this, these will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have ill-feelings, anxiety, or fear avoidant behaviors related to these exercises, you will end up with the reverse placebo effect. With a few things being tidied up, the most likely would not be recurrent. Do you have any videos of either of these two lifts?

    Nothing is going to take the place, by itself, of the squat or the deadlift. That said, certainly a lot of people have trained their entire life without putting any effort into squatting or deadlifting. With some creativity, you could piece a training program together that gives you some of the benefit. I don't believe it would be nearly as efficient, however, some training is infinitely better than no training.

    I was curious, so I looked at some of the economic markers for Serbia. Now, it makes sense why I hear Americans frequently talk about wishing to retire in Serbia. If you are on an American pension, some of the prices of goods is extremely cheap there, especially food and rent. It looks like food prices here is about 3-6 times what they are where you are.

  7. #7
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    Thank you for your thoughts Will, it really means a lot. Just to clear up any misunderstandings, my worst fear is that I might get into a situation where I cannot squat or deadlift, because I love doing both and strength training without them would feel like doing 1/3rd of a job. What you say makes a lot of sense, I'd also like to add 2 details: 1) Ever since my weight gain but before I started strength training again, physical activity gave me back pains (not of the magnitude that the injury did, but with the same characteristics) and 2) both the injury pain and the pain I felt in my back before lifting are characterized by extension intolerance, with flexion being painless. As for videos of the lifts, I'll take some on my next workout.

  8. #8
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by KostKal View Post
    Thank you for your thoughts Will, it really means a lot. Just to clear up any misunderstandings, my worst fear is that I might get into a situation where I cannot squat or deadlift, because I love doing both and strength training without them would feel like doing 1/3rd of a job. What you say makes a lot of sense, I'd also like to add 2 details: 1) Ever since my weight gain but before I started strength training again, physical activity gave me back pains (not of the magnitude that the injury did, but with the same characteristics) and 2) both the injury pain and the pain I felt in my back before lifting are characterized by extension intolerance, with flexion being painless. As for videos of the lifts, I'll take some on my next workout.
    Pain with extension is kind of hallmark degenerative symptoms, especially in the facet joints. It might be worth considering setting yourself in a neutral position, rather than a position of extension.

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