Lower back pain with lifting is a common problem that affects many active adults. Sometimes the pain is at the base of the spine (SI joint), down the spine, across the spine, or in the muscles on the sides of the spine. It could even radiate down the leg. Common diagnoses associated with low back pain and lifting include degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, sciatica, and back strains.
Although there are differences in how each of those conditions should be treated, common limitations exist when it comes to lifting and low 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 of the 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 have a movement assessment performed
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 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, overcoming low back pain when lifting is possible. However, ignoring pain may only prolong suffering. If you have concerns about low back pain and lifting, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you.
We have a free guide on relieving back pain that can give you further insight into back problems and help kickstart your recovery. We are available for a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your pain is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.
If you’re considering physical therapy, we encourage you to request a back pain consultation. This is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your back pain, and foster confidence that we can help you. If you decide you want help with your back problem, we can then discuss your options moving forward.
If you’re in pain and unsure about what your next steps should be, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.