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Old 03-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
Ian Nigh
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strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

so it seems like every 3 or 4 months, I injure my lower back while doing heavy back squats.
I have struggled to get my squat numbers up from a sad 80kg two years ago, to a 120kg 1RM in January of this year. I was recently able to do 110kg 3x5 no problem. Then yesterday while attempting to beat my 120kg 1RM, I had that all too familiar twinge in my left hip/lumbar region which I know means at least one week of constant pain and discomfort. Then I seem to recover pretty well, work on improving my form, get the weights back up, usually hit a new PR no problem, and then it happens all over again, always in the exact same place!
I am sick of this cycle and really wan to address the issues, which I suspect are related to structural imbalances. Sadly, I have no access to competent therapists that could help me with this. Advice plz?
Also, I am thinking it may be smart for me to replace the offending squats with Bulgarian split squats and weighted pistols, maybe also incorporating some good mornings and/or stiff legged deadlifts to avoid the heavy weights on my back that seem to be causing the injury.
I know I have a slight scoliosis and this may be the root cause of the problem. In the past, I have tried ART, which cured my sciatic pain completely, and chiro has also helped. I dont have regular access to these therapists, however.
What can I do to fix my structural imbalances?
Should I forget about doing heavy back squats entirely?
Any advice is appreciated.

Last edited by Ian Nigh; 03-14-2010 at 06:14 PM..
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
Aaron Gainer
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

Sounds like your lower back is weak.

Start doing very lightweight good mornings. Sets of 20-25 reps for 2-3 sets. Empty bar is more than enough to start with.

In the meantime, lighten up the load on back squats or just switch to front squats and keep the weight lighter until it heals back up.

Take it slow, and you'll be back to the heavy lifting in a short time.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

Do you have any other orthopedic issues with your lower body?
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:24 PM   #4
Ian Nigh
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

I was diagnosed with a LLD about three years ago and prescribed a heel lift to wear in my shoe. After wearing it for about a year and a half I found it made little difference in my performance, and I would still get the back pain every 3-4 months. After doing lots of research and speaking with several PT's who told me an actual LLD was unlikely, I ditched the heel lift and have noticed no negative effects (until yesterday, i guess). I am much happier barefoot in any case.
About 8 months ago I started running and working out barefoot or in vibram 5 fingers. I feel this has helped, but i know there are still issues I need to resolve.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:22 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

May be a good idea to get your SI/pelvis area checked out to see if there's anything slipped/rotated/etc. especially if you were diagnosed with LLD in that past

that may contribute significantly to back pain if that's the case.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:01 PM   #6
Ian Nigh
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

hmm, yes, would love to have that checked out! Who can do this for me?? A regular chiro? Traumatologist? What should I look for? I am currently in Northern Australia, not many providers around here...
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:55 PM   #7
Brandon Tullos
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

SI is most likely the problem. The reason is because any problem from the waist down causes problems in the SI joint over time. It is the most common injury in athletes and causes serious back pain and leg pain because the inflamation causes pressure on the sciatic nerve. I would suggest just googling some videos on SI joint problems. I have watched some good ones that show you good ways to stretch it out and try to correct it. On that note you should probably try adding in 20-30 minutes of good stretching before and after working out. Many people dont know this but inflexible hamstrings cause a lot of back problems and lowered performance on lifts. If you have any more questions let me know...between me and my trainer we have overcome lots of back problems and increased lift numbers.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

A good chiro or PT will work....
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

Thanks Brandon ans Steven.
I have noticed lower incidence of back pain when I stretch my hammies before squatting or deadlifting.
That being said, I know they are tight and should get more stretching. I will deff. search for video on SI joint rehab, and book an appointment with my local chiro and ask him specifically to check out my SI joints.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:59 PM   #10
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Re: strategies for avoiding chronic lower back injuries

I wrote up some evaluations here that may help wfs
http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2009/1...-dysfunctions/
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