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Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-16-2011, 6:12 AM Reply   
I recently woke up with a major pain in my back that made it hard to bend over or even sneeze without major pain. It's off to the left side (not the spine) just below the ribs, so I'm assuming it's a muscle pull. I had worked out the day before in the early morning and walked around Disneyland all day with no hint of a problem at all, but when I tried to stretch in bed the next morning I got hit with major pain. Not sure if it happened while sleeping or when I tried stretching.

I could barely walk the first day, but I rested it for two days and it felt a lot better. However, you could still feel that there was something going on there. I tried working out again and got about 40 minutes in before it pulled again with some major pain to go along with it. So I started over again and let it rest for a week without working out this time. Again, it felt a lot better, but if I stretched just right I could still feel a little twinge. So I tried working out again and, boom, it felt like someone shot me in the back about halfway through my workout.

The obvious answer to my problem would be to rest longer. Duh. However, is there anything else I can do to help the recovery. I've never had anything like this happen before and I'm pretty bummed to be totally inactive while I just wait for it to get better. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-16-2011, 7:23 AM Reply   
Aside from the obvious rest you need to let the muscle recover, and assuming it is actually a strained muscle, I would work on some preventative stuff once you're healed.

I of course don't know the true problem, but typically people strain their lower backs because of imbalances, a weak core, or bad form. When you bend over to pick something up, or perform a bent-over exercise, your pelvis needs to stay in the neutral position, meaning, that natural amount of arch you have in your lower back needs to always be there, during every exercise. The lower back should never flatten out . The movement for any bent-over exercise should happen at the hips (below the pelvis, when the glutes lengthen and shorten). You may need glute exercises to strengthen the glutes or just make them more active so that they contract when they're supposed to. Long story short, strong glutes support a strong back/core.

My other suggestion would be to make sure you have an equal balance of core exercises. A lot of people do a ton of Ab work, but they neglect the back, and obliques. The obliques are the key to a strong core. They can stabilize the pelvis if they are conditioned and support your core.

The other part of this is lifestyle. While you sit, typically your spine is in flexion. This means your abs are always shortened, and your back (Erectors) are always lengthened (or being stretched). You sit at your desk, in your car, on the couch, and eventually you end up with a stretched, weakened back, and short, strong abs. Try to spend a minutes each night watching TV on your stomach with your head lifted up, and your spine in extension. This offsets some of the damage we do sitting down. It stretches the abs, and allows back / erectors to shorten a little.

Really you should hook up with a good trainer, and have him/her teach you core exercises that cover all three planes. Sagital, Frontal, and Transverse. This is the best way to protect your back. And make sure your glutes are strong.

Are you squatting?
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-16-2011, 9:34 AM Reply   
J-Rod, thanks for all the words! I'm doing P90X and I was only two weeks in when this happened. It happened a full 24 hours after my previous workout when I was in bed, so I'm not sure if it's related to the workouts, but since it's never happened to me before, that might be the culprit. I've got lots of "imbalance, weak core and bad form" that could have caused it.

When you talk about that "natural amount of arch" in the lower back, are referring to the fact that your lower back actually bows inward when you're sitting up straight in a chair?

Am I squatting? Not at the moment! No, I'm not doing squats. As I mentioned above, I'm just two weeks into p90X. Looks like it's going to be p120X at the rate I'm going!
Old     (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-16-2011, 10:22 AM Reply   
David I am pretty sure you are describing the exact same thing that I have gone through on many occasions. If you slightly turn to the side it hurts if you breath deep it hurts Im not sure what it is probabbly a strain it would usually take about 2 weeks to go away completely but I would on occasion get it if I sneazed or bent over weird to fast yata yata.

I used to think that it was just soemthing that was ready to happen and was set off but a weird movement or fast jerk sneaze whatever. Feels like your kineys or ribs are bruised correct?
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-16-2011, 10:51 AM Reply   
Yes, that sounds like the same thing. I'll give it two weeks and see what it feels like. Bummed out!
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       02-16-2011, 10:58 AM Reply   
Dave - make sure you do plenty of Ice/heat as well. I have been dealing with back spasms for almost 20 years now (injured in my early teens), and the only thing that helps alleviate the pain is the ice/heat combo, and some aleve as well. I have been working to strengthen my core as jarrod had suggested, but that is kinda tough to do when you are dealing with constant pain. definitely take a few weeks off though, and make sure you treat it properly. jumping back into the game too soon will just knock you out even longer, and will frustrate you even more. good luck. I know how you feel.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-16-2011, 11:03 AM Reply   
Correct. when your pelvis is in the neutral position, you'll have that bit of natural arch or bowing in your lower back, just above your waist line. It should always be there, during every exercise, with the exception of ab exercises maybe. Paying a attention to it might help you focus on using glutes to bend over or reach, as apposed to using your back. You back is strongest in the extended position, with your pelvis in neutral.

It sounds to me like it was defintiely P90X. Which workout did you do prior to the injury?
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-16-2011, 11:11 AM Reply   
What do you mean by "ice/heat combo?"
Old    deltahoosier            02-16-2011, 11:16 AM Reply   
You have to be careful. Many people like to get into high impact aerobic exercise. If you are not in shape treat it like recovering from a injury. Look up the 5 steps of recovery (for hurt body parts not emotional). Basically they always have you strengthen/ flexibility first before starting cardio conditioning of muscles. You skip the strengthening portion and go straight to cardio you can have some breakdowns.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-16-2011, 11:21 AM Reply   
The workout I did 24 hours prior to the pain hitting was Chest and Back and Ab Ripper. When I tried to come back the first time (two days rest) I was 40 minutes into Plyo where you jump on one foot and draw an X on the floor. I'm sure that re-aggravation was due to imbalance. Then I sat out a week. This morning I was doing Shoulders and Arms and, again, I was about 40 minutes in on the Two-Hand Shoulder Flys and it pretty much instantly pulled as soon as I tried the second of the two maneuvers where you kind of reach outward. Hurt like a mother!
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       02-16-2011, 11:45 AM Reply   
dave - ice/heat combo is (what I do anyways) 15 minutes of ice on the injury, followed up with 15 minutes of heat. it helps with the inflamation in the damaged area.
I agree with what delta says about high impact aerobic stuff. I thought I was in decent shape when I first did p90x, but it kicked my arse, and I ended up getting injured a couple of different times because of it. start slow, and dont feel like you have to keep up with the pro's in the video.
Old     (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       02-16-2011, 3:03 PM Reply   
I have not thought too long about your condition because I am un-qualified in any event, and I really have no clue what ails you. Take this advice accordingly.
Old     (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       02-16-2011, 3:06 PM Reply   
Shoulders and backs ... the two cannot be separated.

For shoulders, theraband therapy.
Attached Images
Old     (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       02-16-2011, 3:07 PM Reply   
--6 pack for the back--

Prone over a weight bench or standing bent forward at the waist:--

1 - Raise straight arms up to the back to hip height, thumbs facing the floor;
2 - Raise arms up with elbows bent to shoulder height while pinching shoulder blades together (like rowing a boat);
3 - Raise straight arms out to the side at shoulder height with palms facing the floor;
4 - Raise straight arms out to the side at shoulder height with thumbs pointed up;
5 - Raise straight arms up in "Y" position (about 120 degree shoulder flexion) with palms facing the floor; and
6 - Raise straight arms up in "Y" position with thumbs pointed up.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-16-2011, 3:25 PM Reply   
Actually "Stabilization" is the first step. But after that you're right. Typically reactive training (plyometrics) is introduced once you're conditioned properly. Plyo is advanced for sure.

This unfortuntely is the problem with P90X. While I'm a big believer and supporter of the program, it's very high risk for those that have other things going on that could cause injury.

I would have to watch you workout dave, but my guess would be that your injury came from the AB Ripper X. Maybe while reaching for your toes during situps, or even by allowing your pelvis to tilt during leg lifts.

I would suggest you back off of the P90X, rest, and start the program again with just Core Synergistics and Cardio.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       02-17-2011, 10:15 AM Reply   
I did hit the AB Ripper pretty hard that day!


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