The Common Cause Of Back Pain

lower back pain spine in red

Back Pain and Weightlifting

Lower back pain is fraught among lifters and it will most likely affect at least one lifter in their time, especially if you are looking to make some real development in your size and strength whereby your body is constantly on the limit.

The majority of back problems stem from movements that involve the highest degree of technical difficulty such as deadlifts, squats and the clean and jerk.

These movements involve the vulnerable lumbar muscles and disks to high strain, shear and axial loading.

The overloading of the lumbar extensor muscles which are the very large muscle groups which help move stand up from a bent over position are the most common causes of injury and pain, usually being performed quickly and causing rapid contractions.  

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There appears to be some common scenarios regarding lifting injuries, those from poor form, or too much confidence or from over use seen in seasoned lifters.

female weightlifter in pain

However, regardless of form and perfect execution when an athlete lifts over 100% of their body weight it can exceed the stress to failure strength of the disk and tendon collagen.

This can lead to tears in the structural components that are responsible for anchoring muscles to the bone.

As a result, a contraction occurs which will cause pain along the muscle fibers and attachments.

The muscle injury will range from micro cellular damage to

Tendon injuries which then will cause inflammation.

As a result the muscles and tendons feel sore, swollen and bruised.

The pain can radiate from the lower back and the muscles start to spasm and cause reflex actions throwing the person to the ground with the muscles unable to hold the body up.

Recurring pain is often misdiagnosed as sciatica or pinched nerves.

This is usually not the case and it is normally chronic disruption of the collagen attachments to the bone which can be a constant bugbear unless rested completely for 9 months.

Without this amount of rest or breaking free from potential bad training habits the pain may never be resolved and can eventually lead to muscle control dysfunction, muscle contraction pain and poor coordination.

All recurring muscle pain can be ultimately diagnosed with an MRI scan.

male Olympic weightlifter in pain

Is there an appropriate way to avoid injury?  

If you are in the gym it seems that even with all of the weight training and stretching in the world is not going to offer any real insurance.

Always performing exercise with excellent form can help and this requires excellent coaching.

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Any exercise movements that are of a lower velocity, shorter lever arm and concentric contractions are of a less risk.

However, it is generally the sport which makes the difference.

Certain sports require massive strength in a movement and motion that cannot be entirely guaranteed such as a scrum in rugby.

But even in the sport of power-lifting whereby the range of motion is based on a fairly strict plane this provides a huge number of injuries.

What’s the answer?

It seems the only real prevention is to follow a very careful and form driven regime with small increments is the best chance of minimizing risk of initial injuries and if injury has occurred, do not be tempted to train whilst recovering as this could prolongue the process.

Always remember to utilize basic recovery techniques when injury immediately occurs such as icing, then using heat, plus stretching and taking anti-inflammatories to reduce the time spent off the game.

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