Lower Back in Loads of Pain

Well it seems as if I right dicked my lower back. Today I was doing dumbell shrugs, I do these once or twice per week and my form is good. I wasn’t going stupidly heavy or anything. I was on my fourth set with the 100s and before this I had done 3 sets of 12-15, and on my 5th or 6th rep my lower back got an extreamly sharp pain. It was so painful I dropped the weights and fell to the floor, i lied there for a good minute or so before I could hobble off to the bench in the hallway.

For the next 4 hours I basically laid in my bed doped up on pain killers while my girlfriend brought me ice and shit. It’s feeling a little better now, I can walk a hell of a lot easier but I’m certainly in no condition for any physical activity. I was just wondering if anyone has any possible idea of what happened to me, how long I could be out for, what to do to prevent this from happening again, etc. Pretty damn shitty thing to happen at the end of a workout if you ask me.

Where exactly in the lower back? I’ve had pain in the sacral spine before but I’m guessing you’re probably talking about the lumbar spine.

The majority of the pain is probably about 5 inches up off the tailbone and a little bit towards the right side a little bit. My back is still killing me, probably seeing the chiropracter next week. I was wearing a belt when this happened if that makes any difference

Over the last 25 years I have spent about 2 years in bed because of this kind of sh!t. The back is a very complex area, it could be different things, but usually you irritated a nerve root and your surrounding muscles spasm to protect the nerve. NSAID can help, lying and walking helps, but seated and standing up without moving usually make it worse. It can be caused by different things like tight muscle(s), unbalance strength between 2 antagonist muscle, bad form…


Thanks, yeah I’m going to get it checked out next week I think

I train with JuicyBroPump, the kid NEVER EVER EVER does core of any fashion, and stretching?! not a hope

Could be so many different things, but something to keep in mind, whatever you do outside of the gym for days and even weeks before lifting, can cause tightness such as lots of driving or bending or moving things, and then when you lift the muscles just cant handle more stress in their weakended position.

Get an MRI, make sure its nothing major, if its just a plain old spasm, look into core work, baseball roll out those glutes and erectors, stretch those hips, hammies and lats, warmup more, dont load the spine as much as possible, read other back pain threads, single leg work, fuck shrugs. Things injury me everywhere. Become aware of your body throughout the day not just during lifting.
hope some of that helps buddy

glute activation, and lots of it.

Get some basic physio work done. As a general rule they can determine whether or not the injury is on the nervous system or on the muscle. It would probably be cheaper then getting an MRI and just as effective.

You can do basic self tests without injuring yourself further - different yoga poses i.e. the cat pose will stretch your lower back.

[quote]shibboleth wrote:
Get some basic physio work done. As a general rule they can determine whether or not the injury is on the nervous system or on the muscle. It would probably be cheaper then getting an MRI and just as effective.

You can do basic self tests without injuring yourself further - different yoga poses i.e. the cat pose will stretch your lower back. [/quote]

Hi shibboleth,

I have a question and I don’t mean it in any way as a challenge. I’m just curious. I have no experience with physios and what they can or cannot do. How can a physio determine if a patient has a herniated disc without the aid of an MRI? And if they can make such a determination, how can they cure/solve the problem?

Again, not meant as a challenge. I just really want to learn and understand more about this. I have a couple of herniated discs that were discovered as a result of an MRI and am seeing a neurosurgeon and orthopedist to correct the issue. So you can understand my curiosity.



The straight leg raise test has demonstrated high levels of sensitivity in the research (.88 in pooled data). The cross straight leg raise test has high levels of specificity (.91 in pooled data). These tests cost about $.03 to perform and provide more clinical utility than an MRI outside of a cauda equina (medical emergency). As far as a disc herniation goes, the medical and scientific research has been quite clear; MRI FINDINGS DO NOT MEAN OR SHOW BACK PAIN. The MRI is sensitive, not specific. It can rule out a problem but is poor at ruling one in.

What does this all mean?

If the straight leg raise is negative without provoking symptoms, it is good at ruling out a symptomatic disc herniation. If the crossed-straight leg raise is positive it is good at ruling in a symptomatic disc herniation.

Disc bulges, herniations and protrusions are all common. The only disc injury that correlates to symptoms/disability are extrusions, which are also present in a smaller asymptomatic populations.

On to your next question: what can the PT, DO, DC do about the disc…nothing…

There is nothing in the scientific research that demonstrates changes in the disc with manual therapy, exercise, traction, ,etc that correlates to symptom resolution or outcomes. It doesn’t matter because MRI confirmed disc herniations are the norm and do not correlate to patient related pain or disability (unless there is an extrusion).

This is the unfortunate misunderstanding of neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, anasthesiologists, disc-head PTs (i.e. McKenzies), etc. For those that don’t agree, lets look at what is done for ‘discogenic’ pain: fuse it, replace it, snip it out, burn it, inject it, suck it in, suck it out, medicate it, etc. Guess what, they all have one thing in common…none are better than the next. They all have one more thing in common: the are no better than exercise and appropriate movement/active interventions.

Discs don’t cause pain.

Hi olifter1,

Thanks very much for the explanation – I really appreciate it. I didn’t know that. Very interesting. In my case, I have two discs that are extruded and pressing into the nerves, which is causing the pain (or at least this is my understanding of what the neurosurgeon and orthopedist explained to me; the word they used was in fact “extruded” – I definitely made a mental note of that when they were reading my MRI and telling me what was going on). [Edit for clarity: they said the cause of my pain is due to the crushed nerves resulting from the disc extrusions, not the disc itself.]

Thanks again for taking your time to answer my question.

All the best.

Remember, correlation is not causation. As far as ‘pinched nerves’ goes, this is a normal occurrence in the human body. That is why nerves have high amounts of connective/ligament like tissue in them.

Take your finger and press on your ‘funny bone’ (ulnar nerve). That’s as close as you get to ‘pinching’ a nerve and in most cases it does not cause pain or sensory changes.

For future reference, a microdiscectomy is the only back surgery with supporting research. Fusions are only effective for spondylolisthesis or fracture stabilization. Disc replacements have not shown favorable outcomes.

Again, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time to explain all this. The docs did say that a microdiscectomy may be a possibility for me, but right now the epidurals they’re administering seem to be doing the trick, albeit slowly. But it’s progress and improvement, and I’m grateful for it.

Thanks again.

Well it’s been a week and a half roughly and my back is almost 100%. Shitty injury but It’s showed me the importance of core/stretching. I’ve been back pumping ron since yesterday, both workouts I had little to no discomfort. I did go lighter obviously (225 squats for 15-20 reps). I made a couple trips to the chriopracter last week, he told me I had twisted some of my lower ribs and now my back muscles were in a spasm. Don’t know how that happens shrugging but fuck it. Whether or not the chiropracter was right, I’m not too worried because in a week and a half my back has gone from death to almost perfect. The rest time probably didn’t hurt either. Still worried about shrugging though, skipped er in my shoulder workout

Welcome to the lower back pain club.

Liek previous posters said… foam rolling, especially the glutes, stretch out those hips, do some core work and back off the weight and make sure your form is all good.


Pleeeeaasseeee tell me what the “tweet” meant haha