The Southeastern Spine Institute

Although it may seem that back pain and weightlifting shouldn’t complement one another, the strengthening that weightlifting offers can actually reduce back pain. Moderate weightlifting helps develop your back strength. It doesn’t have to be about body building. When training with the proper routine, your back can develop the strength it needs to keep you healthy and away from back pain.

All muscles require exercise to maintain the strength needed to perform their functions properly. The complex muscle groups in your back work together to support your spine, hold your body upright and allow movement. How far you can twist and bend in various directions depends on healthy back muscles.

When certain areas of the spine get injured, your back muscles cause pain and limit motion, telling you when you’ve gone too far. In that way, both back pain and weightlifting can contribute to the process of healing after injuries.

Back Pain Develops Easily

When an inflamed and injured spine is causing pain and limited motion, the muscles in your back become weak. This causes chronic stress and can deprive your muscles of the energy they need to support your spine. Some common causes of back pain include:

  • Repeated heavy lifting
  • Sudden movements
  • Disc degeneration
  • Poor posture

These kinds of strains can occur from lack of exercise. Back pain and weightlifting, then, become both the problem and the solution. Weightlifting builds the muscle strength to help current problems while it aids in preventing future ones — but only when they are done properly with the support of your spine physician at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Weightlifting Caveats

The primary advice for weightlifting is to be reasonable with it. Overextending or flexing your back muscles against the weight while weightlifting can result in injuries such as muscle strains and spinal injuries. When starting a new weight training program, the exercise you choose should focus on support. Your physical therapist can show you how to do these exercises correctly as part of your ongoing treatment.

There are certain exercises you should consider avoiding, such as:

  • Deadlifts
  • Sit-ups
  • Spinal rotation movements
  • Leg presses
  • Standing calf raises

These techniques often lead to back pain, and weightlifting can cause even more stress to your back, making the problem worse. Some exercises to consider taking up while your back is healing include:

  • Glute hip press. This exercise strengthens your glutes without putting your spine under any stress.
  • Front squats. Squats strengthen your legs to support your back without straining your back. They also force the spine to resist being pulled into a flex.
  • Chin-ups or pull-ups. These are important to the recovery of the spine and work out the muscles from your shoulder all the way to your pelvis, adding spine stability.

If done in moderation and under consideration of the severity of the problem, back pain and weightlifting aren’t opposing forces. While working on strengthening your back to aid in your healing process, weightlifting also keeps you in shape and helps prevent any future injuries that may come from lack of exercise for your back.