Down and Out: Lower Back Pain

For the last year I have had some sensitivity in my lower back. I think that I spent too much time using bad squat form, and too much weight. I have a tendency to curve my lower back/pelvis forward while I squat, which puts way too much pressure on it. I tend to stand and squat with my back in position B.


Bad news. Ever since using bad form I have a lot of trouble with performing any sort of squat. About 3 months ago I went to a HIIT (high intensity interval training) class, and the instructor had us performing fast squats with 12-15 lb dumbbells. On this particular day I was feeling like a bad ass so I decided to pick up the 15s and squat at a really fast pace.

Immediately I felt a tinge in my lower back. And instead of leaving the class, I decided to finish it out. Terrible idea. I just have such a problem with walking out of classes. I feel weak or disrespectful or something. I have since learned my lesson; listen to my body.

Upon leaving the class I could barely walk, or sit without wincing. I got home and iced it immediately. And instead of seeking help from a doctor, I thought the best plan was to google at home remedies.

Google told me that it was best to use ice for the first 48-72 hours, and then apply heat and possibly foam roll, in case there was any sort of kink. However within 3 days it was very apparent it was not a kink. My whole lower back felt stiff, and I could barely bend over. In order to walk without experiencing pain I had to hunch over and walk similarly to an upright gorilla.

So after taking a few days off from the gym I attempted to try and work out. This was the most aggravating experience of my life. That might be a little dramatic, but it was really discouraging. I could not lift weights, I could not run, I couldn’t even use the elliptical. The only thing I was able to do was the recumbent bike, which I find to be easy and boring. I left the gym near tears because I was so frustrated with my body.

After a full week away from the gym my back started to feel better so I started attending my normal classes. I would love to say that I have gotten my complete range of motion back but I haven’t. I still can’t bend over fully. I don’t use weight when I squat, in fact I shy away from doing squats quite a bit. And if I sit in one position too long I always end up having a very stiff back.

So let this serve as a warning, when your body is telling you that something doesn’t feel right, back off. Don’t continue to push, you will regret it.