How to Treat Back Pain from Lifting Weights


Many people are surprised to learn just how highly beneficial weight lifting can be as an exercise. As a form of strength training, regularly lifting weights promotes cardiovascular fitness, strength, a healthy metabolism, and even good bone health.

However, it also places great strain on various parts of your body, including your spine. When this happens, you may well experience some degree of back pain. This may vary in intensity, from dull aching to acute pain that makes it difficult to function or even think.

What causes back pain when lifting weights?

In the majority of scenarios, back pain during or after lifting weights is caused by poor posture or poor lifting technique. Rounding of the back is a common problem, and this can put your hips at an awkward angle that places stress on the ligaments around your spine. It is important to keep your shoulders stable and engage your pelvis so that you don’t overextend your back.

Some injuries are more likely than others. Here are two of the most common neck and back injuries associated with lifting weights.

  • Herniated disc. This occurs when an intervertebral disc, which acts as a shock absorber for the spine, becomes damaged and ruptures. The soft, inner gel leaks out meaning that the spine is less cushioned. The gel can also irritate the surrounding nerves. Herniated discs are often triggered by deadlifts.

  • Muscle and ligament tears. As their name suggests, these are painful and can be debilitating. The trouble is that when muscle and ligament tears occur, the healing process could cause a scar to form, and this can pose problems of its own such as shortening of the muscle which in turn limits mobility.

How to treat back pain caused by lifting weights

If you are suffering from back pain caused by lifting weights, the best thing that you can do is seek the help of a professional – ideally a chiropractor. Chiropractic care has shown to be beneficial in dealing with pain associated with lifting weights and many people who lift regularly also benefit from regular appointments with their chosen chiropractor.

Our professional chiropractor will use a range of techniques to help reduce your pain and any inflammation in your spine, giving you relief from your symptoms. The most common technique is called manipulation and involves specific movements designed to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body which in turn will reduce pain and improve mobility.

We can also give you valuable advice on ways that you might be able to prevent further damage and pain from occurring, including information on the best food to eat and physical exercises that you can and should perform both while you heal and after.

Is there any way that I can prevent back pain from lifting weights?

A full lifting routine works all of the muscle groups as well as affecting your back. Although there is no guarantee that you will not experience back pain as a result of lifting weights, there are a few things that you can do to prepare your entire body for the stress and strain that it is about to experience, thus reducing the likelihood of an injury that will affect your spine. These preventative steps include:

  • Warming up properly and stretching before your session.
  • Making sure you never use your back to lift the weight and instead use the muscles that you are targeting.
  • Switching up which areas of your body you are working on each day so that you do not over-exert the same muscles.
  • Use less weight, but do more repetitions.
  • Consider wearing a belt to help support your spine and remind you of the correct posture to assume when lifting.

If you experience pain while lifting, stop immediately. Trying to push through the pain could cause injury.

If you regularly lift weights and have been experiencing back pain and would like the advice and support of an experienced and knowledgeable chiropractor, call Valley Spinal Care today at 602-362-7900.