I pit my lower back and stupid inability to let it heal

I threw my back out playing basketball 3 weeks ago. I felt a sharp twinge after coming down with a rebound but hell, I’m tough and I finished out the game. Afterward, It’s sore but I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on my regular routine of lifting weights. So, I march off the court and into the gym and lift for an hour. Amazingly bright of me, I follow my regular routine including plenty of crunches, squats and back extensions.

By the time I drive home, I can barely walk. It takes my 20 mins to exit my car and walk into my house, a distance of around 20 feet. I don’t make it to work the next day (a friday) and my weekend consists of me laying on the couch leaving my poor pregnant wife to take care of me. I’m an idiot.

I manage to hold off on lifting weights and any cardio for a whooping 5 days. After that, lighter weight, light running, and ABSOLUTELY NO exercises that heavily stress my lower back. Slowly, I build myself back up and my back is feeling good. I increase the weight and duration, it feels strong, I say to myself.

Today, against the advice of my wife, I resumed my regular lifting routine. At about the 15th crunch of my 1st set on the sloped down board, I feel another twinge in my back. So, what do I do you may ask? Of course, another set. And another. And about 20 more minutes of other exercises after that.

It’s not as bad as the 1st time, but why couldn’t I stop myself? I even said to a gym buddy, “There goes my back again - gotta get this next set in though.” Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I sit now in pain.

So, I’d like to pit my lower back and it’s delicate joinings of muscle, tendons, ligaments and bone. More to the point though, I pit myself for being such a dumb-ass and thinking I’m indestructable.

OK, since the (re) injury is fairly fresh, use ice for about 20 min/hr for the next day or two. That should bring down any inflammation. Then switch to heat to relax the muscles and keep them from going into spasm.

Lie on your back with a pillow under your knees. This will take the strain off your low back.

Get thee to a physician.
Take a few weeks off work. See, you need to come to Las Vegas to get a course of therapeutic massage. There are no good massage therapists in your area. Drop me an e-mail to schedule your vaca-, er, your massages. Of course, you may have to spend some time in the casinos and at the buffets, and taking in a few shows because I will have to work the massages around my job. Fortunately, I’m doing temp work, so my schedule is fairly flexible.

Asbestos Mango, I don’t know if you were joking or just trying to bring some humor into the situation (probably?), but you really should be careful about offering what could be construed as medical advice in this type of forum. larsenmtl could have just strained some muscles, but he also could have done more serious damage which needs more attention than sticking his knees up and heat. I’m married to a PT who knows my history and my back very well, and he wouldn’t even offer advice to me without knowing exactly what was going on and seeing & touching the problem. I have a pretty crappy back and sometimes I strain a muscle, but I’ve also bulged a disk before and what might be good for a strained muscle could possibly exacerbate a disk problem. I’m not trying to be obnoxious or anything, but this is just a bad place to offer specific medical advice.

Anyway, larsenmtl, I hope you feel better soon and, for the love of god, settle down! Just last week I screwed my back up (leaning over to put my son in a port-a-crib) to the point where I couldn’t walk for two days. I’m all better now, but man that was annoying, especially with a kid to take care of. Under the advice of my doctor and my PT (husband :slight_smile: ) I’m going to start doing strengthening exercises so that I can hopefully prevent this from happening again.

Hence the “get thee to a physician”. I’m offering basic, non-medical advice for pain relief until the OP can be seen by a doctor. The pillow under the knees is pretty standard advice for dealing with low back pain, as is ice for a fresh injury followed by heat once the inflammation has gone away, even if the injury is not severe enough to require medical attention.

Also, somewhere in my year of training, I did learn protocols for dealing with such things as a bulging/herniated disk, if that turns out to be the problem. In student clinic, I worked on people with these types of problems, as well as people who had had back surgeries on a fairly regular basis.
And, hey, any excuse for a trip to Vegas, right?

I’m already on it. And of course, daily Aleve to reduce inflammation.

Yea, that’s a separate thread where I pit myself for never going to the doctor. I’m certain this is just muscle. I’m going to give it a day or so.

When do I leave?

Thanks! I thought my back was already pretty strong. For now, I’m cutting out the back extensions but I’ll be doing lots of stretches and yoga poses.

Are you absolutely 100% positive that it’s only muscular in nature and that you didn’t slip a disc? You really really really REALLY need to get to a doctor right away, if only to be certain. I’m sure you’re not trying to have to get spinal surgery.

Ya, go see a chiropractor(or an MD if you refuse to accept chiropractic, it’s better than nothing), and whatever you do, do NOT apply heat. Any swelling or inflammation in the disk space, or even the muscles will be exacerbated-and swelling is what is to be avoided. Chill out, stop working out and apply lots and lots of ice in intervals.


P.S.- IANAD, and this should not in any way be construed as advice of a medical nature. However, I know a little about taking care of one’s self, and back injuries.

larsenmtl, be very careful with the stretching/yoga poses. Don’t force yourself to stretch more than your back lets you, and even then, let up a bit.

I hope I’m wrong, but from what you’re describing, it sounds very similar to my pit-worthy lower back issues.

Take care of yourself, and yes, get thee to a doctor!

Ya know, I do this sort of thing all the time. Usually while trying (unsuccessfully, most of the time) to impress pretty women. I feel for you.

Icy hot, aspirin and cold showers have become my dear friends…

Time out!

You need to just stop doing everything, IMO, until you know what’s wrong with your back, and you need to realize that this is probably something that’s not going to go away in a few weeks. You need to REST and LET IT HEAL. Otherwise you’re just going to keep going through these endless cycles of activity and intense spasming pain.

And one other thing - it’s no fun being barely able to lift your child.

If you’re laid up on the couch and your wife has to take care of an infant and you because you can’t stay out of the gym - that ain’t gonna fly.

okay, that’s two

All right, all right, hit me over the head with a blunt object. I’ll give my doc a call and see when he can take a look.