3 Ways Deadlifts Can Cause Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments we deal with in life. At one time or another, we’ll all deal with back pain. Common back pain becomes more frequent as we get older and can be caused by any number of problems. If you’re not physically fit, if you are overweight, and if you smoke a lot, you may deal with more issues than the average person.
What happens if you’re a physically fit person, but your exercise seems to be doing you in? Even if you eat right and exercise regularly, you’re still subject to back pain. Typically, it’s a result of a tweak or an injury caused by the workout you were doing. The pain can be dull and constant or it can be sharp like you’re being stabbed.
People who do deadlifts or more susceptible to back pain than most other types of exercise. When you are lifting the weight over your head, you’re putting the sheer force of the weight against your spine. This immediate action can force the discs to slip from side to side, compress upon each other, strain a muscle, and/or tear ligaments.
Let’s take a quick look at the top three ways deadlifts can cause back pain to help you in your future workouts.
#1: You weren’t meant to deadlift.
Dean Somerset, C.S.C.S., and exercise physiologist from Edmonton, Alberta Canada, doesn’t believe all people are created equal. He claims that in about 10% of his clients, there’s a discernable difference in how their body reacts to doing deadlifts. No matter what they did, they felt immediate pain the second they would try a deadlift. Even lighter variations of the workout didn’t help soothe the pain.
“I used to think everyone should deadlift,” he says in an article for MensHealth magazine. “But as I worked with more and more people, I realized that it’s misguided to think that every single person is able to do every single movement.”
If the lifting causes you a lot of pain, it’s okay to admit that it might not be the right exercise for you. Some people have spinal discs that are shaped differently and just the right amount of sheer force can tweak them enough. Look for other alternatives to working out the same specific muscles that don’t cause pain.
#2: You use the wrong technique.
When you’re exercising, no matter how you choose to do it, you must always remember the basics to proper technique. One wrong move can sprain, strain, and cause pain. So, what happens if you use the wrong technique and put sheer force on your spine?
As with other exercises, you’re always trying to trigger certain muscles in action. When deadlifting, your goal is to get your glutes involved with the action. You want your hamstrings pumping at their fullest. By getting those muscle groups in gear, you’re taking the weight off your lower back. What happens if you take the wrong technique in this circumstance?
You need to really put the full weight on the back of your heels to get the glutes and hamstrings working together to help hold up that weight. But the opposite is true if you’re weight is shifted forward toward your toes. In this instance, your other muscles aren’t going to be of much help. Your poor back is going to take the brunt of it.
#3: Starting too fast.
You don’t have to go from nothing to full deadlifts right off. It’s common knowledge that the typical deadlift is straight off the floor, but don’t be afraid to adjust how you start. Take the time to start in easier positions to get used to the range of motion and to build weaker muscles to prepare them for the sheer force.
There’s no doubt that if you start slow, build up your strength, maintain proper technique, and not overdo it, deadlifting shouldn’t be a painful experience. If nagging pain hits and never lets up, that might be a sign you sustained an injury or your spine isn’t the right shape for this exercise.