Lower Back Pain After Deadlift Workouts: Treatment and Prevention

Lower Back Pain After Deadlift Workouts: Treatment and Prevention

Authored by Audrey on February 25, 2022

Experiencing lower back pain? Deadlift workouts may be to blame—and to some degree, that’s normal. Read on to learn what causes deadlift back pain, how to treat it, and how to prevent it after your next workout. 

Lower Back Pain After Deadlift Sessions: Treatment and Prevention

Is your lower back sore after deadlift workouts? While it may be uncomfortable or distressing, you are not alone—plenty of athletes experience this, especially when starting out. Luckily, there are ways to both prevent and relieve deadlift back pain—and your trusted friends at Jack City Fitness are here to walk you through it. 

Is It Normal to Experience Lower Back/Lumbar Pain After Deadlift Sessions?

Picture yourself post-sesh. You just got home from the gym, took a refreshing shower, and you’re sitting down to a protein-rich dinner. Suddenly…ouch! Your lower back is super painful. 

Sound familiar?

If you are experiencing lower back pain after deadlift-based workouts, you might be worried that something is very wrong. While this pain is not ideal, and in some cases, it can signal a more serious injury, that is not always the case. Deadlift back pain is relatively common in athletes, especially when they are still new to lifting. 

Why Do Deadlifts Hurt My Back?

If you keep getting a sore back from deadlifts, it is likely time to rethink your form. Think: when you use barbells, which parts of your body are doing the heaviest lifting? If your immediate answer is your back, we have already found the root of the problem. 

Your lumbar paraspinal muscles are supposed to keep your body stable during exercises like deadlifts. However, many athletes, especially newbies, rely on these muscles to do all the labor. This is when pain and problems can arise—while these muscles will play a role in your lift, it is other ones (think hamstrings and glutes) that should be working the hardest. 

Is Deadlifting Bad for Your Back?

We won’t lie to you: deadlifts can definitely cause back pain or other injuries, particularly if you have not been using proper form. While these risks are very real, we do not necessarily consider deadlifts to be “bad” for your back. Rather, we recommend that athletes be very serious about engaging in proper form when deadlifting, especially in the early days. 

This is an achievable goal—but we recommend working with a fitness coach to reach that level. 

How To Prevent a Sore Back From Deadlifts

While there are quite a few effective stretches for lower back pain, it is better to avoid the discomfort in the first place. You will need to understand proper lifting form and be able to utilize it. While we recommend working with a coach as you begin perfecting your lift form, we are happy to provide you with a few “beginners tips” to get you started: 

  • Keep Your Spine Straight

When you lift, you should have a straight back. When you round your back, you put it under more strain.

  • Use the Right Weights

There is no shame in using lower weights—they are like stepping stones. Be sure to lift the right weight for your abilities and current fitness levels, rather than your goals. Don’t worry—you’ll get there. 

  • Stop Looking Up

We promise, our ceilings are not that interesting anyway. Instead of looking up during your lifts, your head should be in a neutral position that favors downwards, with a tucked chin.

  • Keep It Close

When you hold the barbell, it should be close to your body. This will not only decrease your risk of injury, but it will also boost your performance!

  • Think About Your Hinge

Deadlifts require a hip-hinge…and if you perform it correctly, you’re less likely to injure your back. Your coach will be able to assess your form. 

  • Do Not Forget to Breathe!

Breath is incredibly important to safe deadlifting. Before your lift motion, be sure to fully exhale—it will help you engage your core and obliques for the move. 

  • Align Those Knees and Shoulders

Ideally, when you grab your barbell, your knees will be in alignment with your feet (around the middle). Your shoulders should then be just over the barbell.

Lower back sore after deadlift

Lower Back Pain From Deadlifts: Relief and Treatment Tips

Wondering how to relieve back pain from deadlifts? Your friends at Jack City Fitness will sort you out. If you are experiencing soreness in your lower back, there are several ways to treat and ease the pain. 

  • Get Some R&R

Whether your back pain is due to muscle soreness, strain, or injury, we know one thing for certain: it is never a bad idea to take a little break. Give your body some time to rest and recover. 

We know it can be frustrating to stay away from the gym, but dealing with the complications that can arise from lifting while injured is even worse. As a rule of thumb, we tell our athletes to avoid deadlift workouts until their back pain has completely subsided.

In some cases, lower back pain might stick around for a while—maybe even for a few months. In these cases, we completely understand the desire to continue working out, even if deadlifts are off the table. During this time, it is a good idea to practice some core-strengthening exercises, like pelvic tilts or glute squeezing. 

  • Ice and Heat the Injury

In the early days of your back pain, we recommend treating it with ice. Try using an ice pack for about 20 minutes every few hours for three days. On the fourth day, you can also introduce a warm, damp compress for 20 minutes after ice sessions.

  • Stretch It Out

Several types of stretches can help relieve back pain. We recommend trying some bridges, shoulder blade squeezes, cat scratches, and kneeling lunges. Your fitness coach will also have plenty of suggestions!

  • Speak With a Professional

While back pain from deadlifts is fairly common, there are some cases where it may indicate a larger problem or injury. If you are concerned about your back pain, it isn’t going away, or it feels very sharp or intense, it may be best to visit your doctor. They will help rule out other potential causes, from kidney stones to fibromyalgia or an unhealed athletic injury. 

Are There Other Common Deadlift Injuries?

While the most commonly discussed deadlift injury is lower back pain, it is not the only possibility. There are several other, less common deadlift injuries that can occur. Fractures, meniscus tears, muscle rupture, ischial apophysitis avulsions, and even spondylolysis have been associated with deadlifting. Studies have also indicated that deadlifts have led to bodily damage, affecting the thoracolumbar fascia, dorsal rami, and vertebral ligaments. 

As with any form of physical activity or exercise, there is always a risk of injury while performing deadlifts. This is why the coaches at Jack City are such sticklers about the importance of proper form! This is doubly true for deadlifts—it is important to train carefully and learn exact form for this workout. The best way to do that? Work with a professional coach!

Lift the Right Way at Jack City Fitness

At Jack City, we are here to support you. If your lower back hurts after deadlift workouts, our coaches will be there to help you through some soothing stretches and relief techniques. If you want help with your lifting form to avoid injury, we are ready to guide you. We have everything an athlete needs to succeed—and we want you to join us!

When you become a Jack City Fitness partner, you will have 24-7 access to our entire facility and equipment, one-on-one coaching sessions, heart-pumping classes, and all kinds of special offers and events. 

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our team by calling or texting (208) 999-1111. We will invite you over to our Boise gym for a FREE fitness consultation and tour of the facility. Once you are all signed up, you can jump right in and start crushing your workout with the right form, whether you are lifting, running, or stretching.

We can’t wait to meet you and help you smash your goals!



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