I threw out my back!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2008 9:36 AM GMT
    It's been about 6-7 years since I've lifted weights cuz I was trying to lose my muscle mass and get more proportional to my height. I've pretty much lost at least half of my lifting strength since then, but at least I can wear normal clothes now. I started lifting again on Friday to get my strength back up and tone everything up. I'm partial to olympic lifts because they're a total body workout and will definitely keep me lean as long as I keep a good diet.

    So I did a very short snatch workout that tired me out pretty well. I really didn't think it was that bad even though I'm so weak now (I only snatched 50kg) and unable to execute the same level of technique that I'm used to (my form looks like complete trash in the mirror). The thing is, today I woke up and could barely move! My lower back is killing me. How could this happen when I didn't feel any pressure at all on my back during the workout?

    I think my brain/nerves tried to go through motions that my muscles just can't handle anymore. It's defintely muscle strain and not vertebral or nerves, so that's good. I spent all day stretching it out, applying icy hot, and taking motrin.

    To stretch it out, I squat down with my heels on the floor, butt cheaks at my heels to put my back in a "C" arch, and my arms out in front. I also do hamstrings with my legs straight and my torso hanging down trying to keep my lower back convex like a "C".

    Are there any other treatments I can do?

    I didn't realize how strong my back used to be. I used to do good mornings, romanian dead lifts, and the glut-ham machine. Does anyone have any other excercises to strengthen the lower back?
  • redheaded_dud...

    Posts: 408

    Mar 09, 2008 3:45 PM GMT
    I'm a firm believer in McKenzie therapy for back/neck/extremity issues. Look for someone who's a Diplomat (Dip. MDT) therapist. They show you what's screwed up and then show YOU what to do when you have a flare-up. Too many folks (like chiropractors) keep you coming back forever. That's just not in the philosophy of this type of therapy.


  • yogadudeSEATT...

    Posts: 373

    Mar 09, 2008 3:54 PM GMT
    One of the first things you should stop doing immediately is stretching. Somehow, a myth got started that the first thing you do for a muscular injury is stretch it out. Think about the strange logic of this. How on earth is stretching out muscle fibers that are torn going to help them heal?
    Icing is good, and so is the homeopathic remedy Arnica. Stay away from coffee and other pro-inflammatents (like alcohol and chocolate). Go for some long walks over the next few days, and then gradually begin to add gentle strength building exercises. Gentle ones.
    The reason you injured yourself is because of a weakness in those muscles. For them to heal you want to strengthen them not stretch them, brother.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2008 5:43 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear that you hurt yourself. I did this once not squatting right with a lot of weight.

    Now that you've hurt yourself you need to use the machines more because you can sit and workout and not put the strain on your back. Keep in mind a lot of back injuries are a result of weak stomach muscles. There may be some exercises that you may have to stay away from for a while until you can heal, then strengthen, those back muscles. If you pulled some muscles ice them, then massage them and push hard. You need to get the blood flow back into those muscles, that's why it hurts so bad. Blood flow is restricted through pulled muscles.

    Hope you get better
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2008 6:11 PM GMT
    I know you hate to hear this, but, that's what happens when you stop lifting: you get weak.

    While the muscle / if the muscle is in spasm, you'll need it to calm down, and, it will if you let it. It'll be all inflammed now, so you might take some ibuprofen. Sometimes, manipulation, once the muscle is out of spasm, will get the weak part realigned, but, is not the cure. The cure is not to let yourself get weak again. LIFT, just as soon as you can.

    I do stiff leg deadlifts with 315 all the time. My back doesn't go out because I don't allow myself to become weak. You have to be strong, and limber, to be pain free. The act of lifting through the full range will stretch you, but, a spasmed muscled generally doesn't stretch well. Sometimes, though, you can force a muscle out of spasm (as in rolfing) by putting direct pressure on it and causing a mitochondria release. It's cool how it works. Any trainer should know the concept.

    Let this serve as a lesson: don't let yourself get weak again.
  • vacyclist

    Posts: 162

    Mar 10, 2008 12:13 AM GMT
    I hate to be the bearer of possibly bad news, but what you're describing sounds like the precursor to what for me ended up as a burst disc in my lower back. This is not a good thing. Your spine is supported by these little spongy things called discs, and when you lift weights with your arms, the weight is transfered to the discs. Too much weight, pop goes the disc. Or sort of.

    What supports the discs to keep this from happening to everybody who lifts weights? Well, it's the so-called core muscles that surround the spine. I'm a geologist who's lifted a lot of rocks, not a medical doctor, so I'm no expert. I do know that if you ignore the pain, and figure you'll "work it out" by lifting more weights, you may be in for BIG trouble. Been there, done that. Might want to see your doctor. Send me an email if you'd like to chat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 10, 2008 8:14 AM GMT
    Hey, Thanks for your input, guys.

    So when I woke up this morning all my back pain was gone! I can bend down with no soreness anymore, but there's still a little bit of stiffness at the extremes of my range of motion though. I'm thinking it was just a massive lactic acid buildup. That's what my friend, who's a nurse, said it was when I asked her for some codeine because the motrine wasn't enough for the pain. She told me to just stay in bed.

    I pulled a hamstring once and it took a few weeks, no stretching, and some massage to heal. For my back, stretching was definitely good for recovery since nothing seems to have been torn or pulled and there was no inflammation. I also used a baseball against a wall for some nice myofascial release, which made it feel a lot better afterward and helped me to get to sleep.

    I think I'm going to have to ease into lifting again and develop my core a lot.