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Old 08-18-2005, 03:15 PM   #1
Chris Forbis
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I've been experiencing a nagging pain in my lower back, on the left side.

It seems I did it during Linda, but I'm not positive on that. Typically, when I tweak my back, I take it easy for a week or so and do lots of back extensions to get it back up to speed.

Back extensions don't help, and don't activate the pain at all. I can deadlift without pain. I notice it when I get into the bottom of a squat. It doesn't scream in pain, but more of a slight pain caused by tightness (the looser and warmer my squat gets, the less it hurts). I also feel the pain in the same way when I'm touching my toes in a pike stretch. The only thing I've found that causes it to really shout and protest is dumbbell swings, at the very bottom turnaround point.

One more thing, I've found that I notice it A LOT, when I lay on my back and pull both my knees to my chest.

Any ideas on what I could do to get it to go away? It's been hanging around for a few weeks now...
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:31 PM   #2
William Hunter
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Chris, it sounds like soft tissue, and if I had to guess I'd say ligamentous. I say that because you feel it when you lie down and pull your knees to your chest. That's a fairly passive movement (requiring little motor action on the part of your low back). If it's right at the belt line area I'd suspect the iliolumbar ligaments, they're often problematic. Any lower and it could be the sacroiliac ligaments (near that dimple).

Sounds like you've tweaked your back before. Is it always in the same place? If so, each episode can potentially take longer to heal. Ligaments repeatedly sprained are never really the same. Rule of thumb is 4-8 weeks for full resolution. I'd be careful and definitely avoid any movement that aggravates. Also, if it is ligamentous, don't stretch it out. If it turns out to be muscular, light stretching may be OK.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-18-2005, 09:12 PM   #3
Chris Forbis
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I've never tweaked it like this before. Normally whenever I do so, it is on deadlifts and prevents me from doing deads/cleans/etc. until it is better... rehab it with lots of back extensions.

This is a new pain to me.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-21-2005, 06:41 AM   #4
Neal Thompson
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Chris

I agree with Hunter that what you have sounds like it is ligament damage. However, I have very similar issues that have bothered me since my football playing days in college. About 5 months ago it got worse to the point that I could not tie my shoes. The pain mostly was a result of swings and deadlifts, then it came on from squats, thrusters, cleans and pretty much everything CrossFit. I finally had and MRI and there was a bulging L5/S1 that is causing lateral(left) nerve impingement. Needless to say I was bummed and began my rehabbing of the back. I am not able to deadlift heavy again yet but I am squatting and doing light cleans now. I still have to be very careful with swings. Because this post is already long I can send you some of the exercises I did via e-mail.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:39 AM   #5
Michael Keller
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Neal, I've had bulging/degeneration at L5/S1 and whichever disc is next to this one, I forget the #. At one time, I had many problems from it and could not stand for more than 10 minutes and everything caused pain. I've been deadlifting for about a year now and doing CrossFit, and my back feels better than it has in many years. Heavy DL's don't seem to bother me, and as long as I am careful about how I bend, I have no problems. OHS are a no-no, I tried them a couple of times and all they do is hurt. Be careful about your lifts and progress gradually, and you will get there. Dave Werner posted an excellent thread about rehabbing the low back, so you might do a search and locate it.
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:30 AM   #6
Chris Forbis
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Thanks guys. If you don't mind, Neal, I'd like to get an e-mail of the exercises. My profile e-mail address will work fine.

I don't think what I have is as serious as what you guys (Neal and Michael) have/had. I can deadlift/clean without pain. OHS and snatch are without problems too. It seems to be getting slowly better with time too.

I'll see if I can find the Dave Werner thread you referred to.

Thanks all.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #7
Troy Dodson
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Both of these have some good posts by Dave.

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/1984.html

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/27/5895.html

I had just dug these up for a friend with back pain, and just now saw your post. Good timing!
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Old 08-24-2005, 05:54 PM   #8
Neal Thompson
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Sorry for not getting this out to you sooner.

The first thing I did/do is use a foam roller and perform SMR on my hip flexors, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, IT band, and piriformis. I would do this as long as necessary.

Second, I perform back bridges with a medicine ball between my knees for two sets of 8-10 repititions. This allows the hip flexors to relax and the glutes to fire.

Third, I do what is similar to windshield wipers but only on the floor. Back flat on the floor, legs extended at a 90 degrees, I tighten my core and lower my legs to the floor left of me. I tighten the obliques and pull my feet back to the start and then to the other side. I do this for 2x20(10 times each way)

Fourth, I do what I call "swimmers." I lay prone(face down) and spread my legs about two inches wider than my hips with my feet turned out. Then I alternate lifting my feet about six inches off of the floor while focusing on leading with the heel of my foot. I got this from a pilates instructor who was also a client of mine. Don't laugh, this one works. Perform three sets til you lose good form.

Last I make sure that my hips, hamstrings and glutes are warmed up and pliable. A great deal of my issues are from tight/weak glutes and hamstrings.

As I was rehabbing and working my way back I really scaled down the weight for swings until I could do a significant number of repetitions and not feel destroyed the next day. I always kept/keep in my mind Coach's comment about rehabbing CrossFit style. "If the next day you feel the same or better, then you are doing it right." That has allowed me to put off imminent surgery.

I hope that helps. If you need any further clarification or assistance I will be glad to help.

- Neal
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Old 08-24-2005, 05:58 PM   #9
Neal Thompson
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Michael,

I find it interesting that deadlifts don't bother you. They kill me. I think partly b/c my glutes don't want to fire and this is something I practice all the time. I also find it interesting that OH squats don't bother me at all. I actually feel better with them.

- Neal
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:05 PM   #10
Chris Forbis
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Thanks Neal.
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