Posts Tagged ‘lumbago’

Deadlifting 405 lbs without a belt is a terrible idea. Why this had not occurred to me before I’d done it several times is beyond my comprehension, but the important thing is that I know it now.

The failure to think through what I was doing, or, rather, laziness bought me a horrible back injury after my 405 single: I hadn’t warmed up and pulled it with awful form – bar away from my body, back engaged too early, rounded lumbar curve.

After the lift, my back was tight, hurt when I bent forward, and a tingling ran down the back of my glutes to my hamstrings. All classic signs of a slipped disk.

I dodged a massive bullet – now, two weeks after the injury I am 80% sure it’s not a slipped disk. This is what happened, for your learning pleasure.

Day 1 after the injury: tightness starts, hurts a little bit to bend over, pain and tightness localized in the lower left quadrant of my back.

Days 2-10: Like an idiot, I continue to lift. I don’t deadlift, but bent-over-rows and power cleans are especially aggravating to the injury.

Days 11-18: continuing to lift, its starting to occur to me that I may be doing more harm than good. After every lift, the pain is intense, but after a good night’s sleep, it seems to loosen up.

By now I had pretty much narrowed the injury to either a Quadratus Lumborum or Spinal Arrector tear or, far worse, a slipped lumbar disk.

Final days, including today: Looked up stretches for the lower back and such online. Lying on my bad, I did about three thirty second bent left leg crossovers to loosen my glutes and lower back. I then got off the bed and stood feet shoulder width apart in front of the wall and did an assisted hamstring stretch to loosen my hammies and glutes again. The final two things I did were massage my hip flexors and stand perpindicular to the wall and take my palm, raise it over my head, and touch the wall to my right (stretching my obliques, lats, and also hip abductors). I cannot tell you how much these helped.

I didn’t go to the doctor, which could have and probably should have been my demise. But I lucked out.

Point is, be tender with back injuries, and DO NOT LIFT WITH AN INJURED BACK. The back is something that will ruin your life if you really mess it up right.

Also very much of note, and I will end on this: when dealing with injuries (especially the back), look for other areas that may be related to the problem. For me, my excessively tight hamstrings had caused my comparatively weak left side back muscles to eventually give up and go into spasm (a state of constant contraction designed to minimize further injury). Just as referential pain can indicate problems elsewhere in the body, an injury to a certain part is not necessarily indicative of a problem with that specific part. An excellent example is knee pain associated with leg presses. The knee is not necessarily being injured to the extent you feel it, but, rather, the quadriceps muscle is in a state of high activity, while the equally important hamstring muscles are relatively relaxed. As the insertions of these muscles are both on the epiphysis of the tibia, both act on it. The tight quadriceps pulls on its connection to the tibial tuberosity and by the nature of human anatomy the patella (kneecap) as well. Normally these static contractions of the muscle tonus are equally balanced between the pull of the quadriceps and hamstrings, but with the hamstrings relaxed relative to the quadriceps, the condition called “runner’s knee” presents itself.

Thanks for listening as always!

-Matt