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Davis 11-01-2013 11:17 AM

Possible Spinal Problems?
Every now and then(last time was in April I think) I'll get a very sharp pain for a couple of days in my middle to upper spinal erectors. Sometimes up around the traps too, but not this time.

The first time it happened this year (January or March), I was overhead pressing a whopping 95 lbs and as I lowered the bar back to the hang position at my hips, that just caused my workout to end very quickly for a few days. (and maybe longer. I can't remember. I guess it depends what month it happened)

The last time, I got some strain on a Friday while putting my backpack in my car. It hurt to deadlift 135, but I kept going, and by the end of my workout the pain disappeared. I can't remember if the pain flared up again or not.

Now, I've taken since last Monday the 21st off of the gym after realizing that trying to lift the same way directly after a meet was a bad idea. Either on Wednesday or Thursday(yesterday) I noticed my right erector was feeling a bit strained or tight. It came out of nowhere. I don't know at all what caused it. I went in last night to bench. The pain (as typical of all the 3-4 experiences in the past) flared up a little as I benched and progressively got worse. Then I went on to do bent over rows, but stopped a set early as I couldn't play with it anymore.

I get home, and it progressively gets worse. Forward movement of my spine feels fine. If I start to bend backwards or sideways, I get pain. I woke up at 6:30 this morning, but laid in bed til 11:30, sleeping on and off. The pain seems to get a little better, but I'm not sure. It hurt very bad to roll over from one side, to my back, to another. I'm not too badly concerned, but at the same time, I do have some worry about it. What is causing this? Was this just sparked by inactivity, maybe? What about my staph infection? Did it somehow move inside my body to my spine? (I heard about a case of that recently)

Does anyone have any insight?

No, it is not my lower back. My lower back has only ever temporarily felt pain, and it certainly is not in pain now.

big_swede 11-01-2013 11:27 AM

If you suspect spinal injury, go se your MD or physio.

Not much advice to be given over the internet on this I think, those things should be delt with by professionals.

jdmalm123 11-01-2013 12:19 PM

i had a spinal injury and it doesn't sound like an acute issue at this time.

We all have some degree of herniation after age 20. it's usually lumbar but a serious lifter could have more issues with the thoracic spine than a regular guy.

Stuart McGill PhD comments on a spinal "hitch" which is excessive mobility at one vertebra than is more than normal.

It sounds more like you have some asymmetry and possible fascial tightness. Usually, that stuff is hard to find on your own and a good massage therapist can help you out. It can often just be tight quadratus lumborum, sprained longissimus, multifidus or something similar...

Sometimes, tightness in an area is the symptom and not the problem. For example, a tight neck or hips or feet/calves will cause compensation movement patterns that will cause your mid back to tighten up as it tries to make up for weakness or reduced ROM somewhere else.

If it's tightness, etc. then you are not in imminent danger, but lifting heavy under those conditions can cause further injury since you could be lifting very heavy with the muscles pulling unevenly. That can tear muscles or herniate discs if the compensating muscles fail during a lift.

Definitely use a good warmup, do some cool down rolling and/or stretching and know when to keep the workout light if you're feeling off.

And, Swede is right, if you have a medical history or it doesn't steadily improve with attention, go see the doc to get ahead of it.

Good luck!

5kgLifter 11-01-2013 12:22 PM

Agree with the others, and since you mentioned a sharp pain, it's probably prudent to get it checked pain is always a sign that should not be ignored.

Davis 11-01-2013 02:23 PM

I talked to my mom and took some ibuprofen. I'm going to continue to rest and not lift (What's Friday without deadlifts??) and see how it goes. If it doesn't get any better, I'll definitely go to the doctor. So far, the ibuprofen is making a noticeable difference.

jdmalm123 11-01-2013 06:41 PM

i use ibuprofen but it works partly by reducing inflammation and partly by blocking pain signals... the point being judge your condition by how you feel when not medicated (and, how often you need to be medicated!) Also, don't use ibuprofen, etc. to work through pain if it's not critical.

Hey, a little rest and you may bounce right back and be deadlifting next week!

Epinephrine 11-03-2013 03:24 PM

Honestly, try out some yoga and deep breathing movements. I hurt my back a little while ago and that seemed to help me out.

If it is indeed your erector spinae or the muscles around that area stretching out your ribcage or deep breathing and lung expansion could help relieve pressure or tension, but I'd see a physio or chiro and make sure nothing severe happened. When babs said a sharp pain is bad, she's right.

SCStrong 11-05-2013 09:24 AM


Originally Posted by big_swede (Post 422485)
If you suspect spinal injury, go se your MD or physio.

Not much advice to be given over the internet on this I think, those things should be delt with by professionals.

This !!!
Do not play around with the spine - you can be screwed up for life. Go see a doctor.

Davis 11-06-2013 12:53 AM

Thanks for the concern, man. My back is feeling pretty much normal again. I'm trying to not load it down too much right now, but I think it's fine and ready to go. Squatted up 365 last night and felt fine. Benching and rowing tomorrow. I'm curious how deadlifts and overhead work are going to feel. If the problem flares up again, I'll get it checked.

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