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Thread: Heavy Lifting = back pain???

  1. #1
    aka Latman harv's Avatar
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    Heavy Lifting = back pain???

    The short:
    I've got "chronic" back pain, between the shoulder blades. I started getting it after I started lifting, what some may call, heavy weights. Is there any correlation?

    The long:
    I got back into lifting about 4 years ago. The 1st year, all i did was bench (not smart - I know). Bach pain started. Chiro told me that it was because I was overdeveloping my shoulders / chest, "pulling" my shoulders forward, putting stress on my back. Made sense, so I started lifting back as well.
    Pain only seemed to get worse as my lift weights went up even though my back is now far more developed than my chest.

    Chiro only provides temp relief. Went to the doc and he was pretty much useless.

    It's gotten to a point where I'm strongly considering walking away from the weights altogether.

    Any experience or educated opinions on the subject?
    34 y/o, 5-10", ~210 lbs, natural
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    I would start looking for a sports therapist before quitting the gym.
    Facebook - BW166 SQ585 BP405 DL660 CL310

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Is it a muscular issue Harv? How is your back flexibility?

    I used to get rhomboid and lower trap strains all the time. Bent-over laterals, bent-over front raises, and kelso shrugs took care of it for me. You certainly could try them if you haven't already. "Trunk curls" (hold barbell and slouch and stand-up straight - looks like a shrug) is another exercise you could try.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  4. #4
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    I would consider some conditioning and flexibility work.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  5. #5
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Have you seen a good chiropractor? Are you positive it's related to lifting and not your lifestyle (i.e. the bed/pillow you sleep on, where you work, whether you sit in a hard chair all day, etc.)? I ask, because I had similar sharp pains between my shoulders last year that got so bad I saw a chiro. I was skeptical but he did wonders for me. Turns out a lot of my problem was the pillow I slept on and chair I sat in at work. Just thoughts, man. Hope you solve this one.

    *Edit: Thought I might add in one more thing. I learned from my chiropractor that lifting heavy weights can do nasty things to the bones in your back/neck (almost like a car accident). It's not a bad thing, it just causes them to shift around, sometimes pinching off nerves and twisting muscles up. So getting your spine "adjusted" is really beneficial to a weight lifter...or any athlete really.
    Last edited by Kiaran; 01-16-2006 at 01:18 PM.
    32 yo - 5'6" - 170 lbs
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  6. #6
    Senior Member djreef's Avatar
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    Could be the vehicle you drive as well - more of us are crammed in our rides for hours a day it seems, now more than ever. I do know what you mean though Harv. I'm seriously considering giving up deads because of chronic sciatica. I keep aggravating it with progressively lower weights. I'm down to 5X5 at 325 from around 450. It's pissing me off.

    DJ

  7. #7
    aka Latman harv's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comment guys.

    Sensei - well, it seems the muscles along the back hurt as the vertebra are out of place causing the pressure/ache. Sometimes I can throw my shoulders back and "pop" it for minimal relief. Sometimes the wife can apply pressure and crack it chiro-style but lately the muscles have been too tight and inflamed to get any movement. Back flexibility is average I'd say. My lats aren't small which hinders flexibility somewhat.

    I started doing reverse flys on a machine at my gym about a month ago but no relief yet. Maybe it takes a while.

    Kiaran - I have seen a good chiro....but he wanted like $4k for me to come in 3x / week from now to eternity which I just couldn't swing.
    I'm not positive what exactly it's related to....I just keep trying the process of elimination.
    Good questions you ask...my bed is good but my pillow kinda sucks. What kind did you get that helped? I do have a good chair at work that forces me to use good posture.

    djreek - excellent point. That was one of my 1st thoughts. I was driving 2.5-3hrs a day in a low riding car a few years ago when the pain started. Now I'm only driving about 1.5hr / day and about 4 months ago - I sold the car to get a Explorer so that I'm sitting much more upright (truly the only reason I sold it). I thought for sure that would help. No luck.
    34 y/o, 5-10", ~210 lbs, natural
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  8. #8
    lifterman87
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    Quote Originally Posted by djreef
    Could be the vehicle you drive as well - more of us are crammed in our rides for hours a day it seems, now more than ever. I do know what you mean though Harv. I'm seriously considering giving up deads because of chronic sciatica. I keep aggravating it with progressively lower weights. I'm down to 5X5 at 325 from around 450. It's pissing me off.

    DJ
    Are there any good subs for deads?
    More wannabe than big.

  9. #9
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harv
    Kiaran - I have seen a good chiro....but he wanted like $4k for me to come in 3x / week from now to eternity which I just couldn't swing.
    I'm not positive what exactly it's related to....I just keep trying the process of elimination.
    Good questions you ask...my bed is good but my pillow kinda sucks. What kind did you get that helped? I do have a good chair at work that forces me to use good posture.
    The pillow I bought was about $30 and looks like this:

    http://www.painreliever.com/core_cor196.html

    If you don't want to buy one, a rolled up towell under your neck works wonders too. For my chair at work, I bought a 65cm fit-ball to sit on...since I used to slide down my chair and wind up sitting on my neck. My back never cramps up anymore thanks to this. I hate standard chairs anymore.

    As for the chiropractor costing about $4k, yeah, that is about what I am paying for both my fiance and myself ($4k total). I started out 3x per week for about 6 months and now I go 2x per week until June. I too couldn't afford it, so they offerred me a payment plan, which I accepted. My reasoning was that my back is like the foundation of my body and four thousand bucks is a small price to pay to help me avoid major problems later in life. I watched mymother go through back surgery to help relieve herniated discs...not cool at all.
    32 yo - 5'6" - 170 lbs
    USAPL Meet PRs (Raw @154 lbs): 347 SQ, 242 BP, 507 DL, 1096 TOTAL
    Gym PRs: 370 SQ, 270 BP, 510 DL

    The Riddle Of Iron - Kiaran's Garage Training Log

  10. #10
    Senior Member djreef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifterman87
    Are there any good subs for deads?

    No, not really.

    DJ

  11. #11
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifterman87
    Are there any good subs for deads?
    Kickbacks do wonders
    32 yo - 5'6" - 170 lbs
    USAPL Meet PRs (Raw @154 lbs): 347 SQ, 242 BP, 507 DL, 1096 TOTAL
    Gym PRs: 370 SQ, 270 BP, 510 DL

    The Riddle Of Iron - Kiaran's Garage Training Log

  12. #12
    lifterman87
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    Okay......
    More wannabe than big.

  13. #13
    Bodybuilding Mythbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by djreef
    No, not really.

    DJ
    Wrong. There may be no one exercise to replace the deadlift but if you do T-bar rows, chins and squats they will pretty much work the same muscles. You could also throw in a few sets of shrugs.

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