Lower back pain with lifting is a common problem amongst back pain sufferers. Sometimes the pain is at the base of the spine (SI joint) or in the muscles surrounding the spine. The low back pain may even radiate down a leg. Common diagnoses associated with low back pain and lifting include degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, sciatica, and chronic low back weakness.
Although there are differences in how you should treat each of those conditions, common limitations exist when it comes to lifting and lower back pain.
Low back pain with lifting often coincides with stiffness and/or weakness of the hips and the t-spine. There may also weakness in your trunk and lower back muscles. If there are imbalances in these regions, movement compensations may occur and lead to faulty spine mechanics. In addition, if you haven’t learned how to hinge at your hips and engage your hip and buttock muscles when you lift, your lower back may compensate and become painful.
The best way to know what is contributing to low back pain with lifting is to undergo a movement assessment.
Once you know what your specific limitations are, the first common-sense recommendation is to take a short break from aggravating activity. This allows for an environment for irritation to settle down and pain to subside. If pain persists, hands-on therapy can be effective to alleviate pain faster. Once pain is under control, you can now address the root causes of your back pain.
If you have a weakness, learning how to activate muscles that are not firing well is key. Exercises like glute bridges and prone hollows are a good starting place. Once muscles engage better, the next step is restoring movement. The basic function of the spine is to bend forward, bend backward, and twist. Jefferson curls, prone lumbar extension/rotation, and kettlebell rotations can develop normal movement at this stage. In order to keep back pain from becoming a recurring problem, advancing to strength-based exercises is recommended. When performed with a hinge technique, deadlifts are a great strength-building exercise. Most of these exercises can be found in our video library.
When addressed with a specialized physical therapy program, lifting without back pain is possible. However, ignoring pain and engaging in repetitive activity can result in a further decline of your back health. If you’re worried about your back pain, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to help you.
We invite you to request a back consultation with one of our specialists. This is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your back pain, and foster confidence that we can help you. If you’re certain that we’re a good fit to work together, you can decide on the next step.
If you’re in pain but unsure about what you should do, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.