The deadlift is a popular weightlifting exercise that involves lifting a weighted barbell off of the ground until the lifter stands straight up. It is the best compound lift for simultaneously using more muscles than any other single exercise. Depending on who you ask, the deadlift may be seen as one of the most beneficial or most intimidating exercises. It’s easy to see why. While deadlifting is widely used as a barometer for personal strength among bodybuilders, it’s also a useful exercise to keep anybody physically fit.
However, because deadlifting involves a wide array of muscles and compound movements to complete, it can be disastrous and cause injury if done incorrectly.
If you’ve sustained a back injury from deadlift exercises, this article will provide you with the knowledge you need to keep you out of recovery and help you maximize your gains.
Why Are Back Injuries From Deadlifts So Common?
Deadlifting can be a fantastic exercise to add to your rotation. Even if you aren’t a competitive weightlifter, deadlifting invokes primal movements that we do daily.
Because it targets your legs, core, and back muscles, deadlifting can be advantageous to improve the ease with which you go about your life. Think about it—how often do you complain about having to reach down to pick something up? Deadlifting trains the muscles in these regions and makes these actions much easier while reducing the risk of harm when doing them.
However, it’s common for people to suffer from back injuries from deadlift exercises. Why? Typically, deadlifting injuries are incurred due to issues with execution, such as:
- Too much weight: This one is a no-brainer. Because of how many muscles are used, tissues in the body will become overloaded when lifting too much weight.
- Not warming up: Warming up is crucial for any strength and conditioning regimen. Warm-up exercises increase your core body temperature and range of motion in your muscles and joints, helping to prevent injury.
- Improper form: Attempting to lift a barbell using an improper form, such as leaning too far forward or using too much of your back and too little of your legs, can result in placing uneven loads on parts of the body, particularly the back. When you’re pulling up such a heavy weight, something has to give, and this can result in tears to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Some lesser-known factors can also make you more prone to receiving a back injury from deadlift exercises, such as:
- Leg length inequality: This occurs when one leg is shorter in length than the other, even slightly. Of the population who experiences no lower back pain, 44% have a leg length inequality, while 75% of those who do experience low back pain also have it. This makes every lift imbalanced through the legs, pelvic, and low back.
- Pelvic asymmetry: Pelvic asymmetry occurs when the pelvic bone is shifted to one side, resulting in a tilt.
- Spinal curvature: Your lumbar curvature, known as a lordosis, is the protective curve that also generates your power. Gain or loss of this curvature puts you at a significantly higher risk for injury and loss of power.
All of these are postural distortions that can alter the amount of weight and pressure that is applied to parts of the back and spine that are involved in deadlift exercises. For example, if you have an irregular spine curvature that causes more pressure to be applied to the left side of your back, the muscles, ligaments, and SI joints in the region can be much more prone to injury.
How to Treat a Back Injury From Deadlifting
There are many treatment and prevention options available to those with back injuries from deadlifts. The level of pain you experience will be a good indicator of what type of treatments you should apply.
- Rest: When working out, consistency is key. It can be frustrating to have to stop your lifting routine because you’re experiencing pain. However, for any treatment to work, your body will first need time to rest and recover.
- Heat therapy: Applying heat to the afflicted area can provide immediate pain relief and help blood flow to the area, boosting recovery.
- Epsom salt bath: Magnesium sulfate, more commonly referred to as Epsom salt, is a compound that helps fight inflammation. Adding two to three cups to your bath and soaking for 15 to 20 minutes can help soothe tight muscles, reduce swelling, and speed up recovery.
- Light stretches and exercises: Light stretches can loosen up tight and sore muscles, alleviating acute pain. Some good exercises for this include:
- Lumbar rotations
- Cobra pose stretches
- Pigeon pose stretches
- Single knee-to-chest
- Work out with a partner or trainer: For people who don’t have experience in sports or athletics, proper deadlift form may be difficult to understand. Having a gym buddy who can watch and coach your form can keep you from developing or maintaining bad lifting habits that could sideline you.
- Videotape yourself: It’s not always possible or convenient to work out with a buddy. To compensate, you can record yourself performing deadlifts and compare the recordings to videos of proper form.
- Chiropractic care: Chiropractors have many treatment options, such as chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy, to assuage pain and discomfort. Chiropractic care can also provide various long-term benefits for people who frequent the gym.
- Corrective chiropractic care: Advanced chiropractic techniques, such as Chiropractic BioPhysics, can be used to assess spinal misalignments and anatomy asymmetry to restore optimal function and prevent injuries.
While these can help with short-term pain, listen to your body. If you’re experiencing debilitating pain when standing up or undertaking regular movement, seek guidance from a medical professional such as a physician or chiropractor.
Chiropractic care has a diverse lineup of benefits for weightlifters of any level. Having proper posture can go a long way toward improving your form and preventing deadlift injuries. Getting a spinal evaluation can be beneficial because you may be at higher risk for spinal injury due to some form of postural distortion without even knowing it.
Whether you’re an amateur or competitive bodybuilder, postural improvements from chiropractic care can not only relieve pain and get you back into the gym but can also make you better at deadlifting by keeping you from getting injured and improving your core strength.
Chiropractic Care From PostureWorks Can Make You a Better Deadlifter
Postural issues are more common than you think. Proper posture can increase your ability to deadlift and also prevent back injuries. While spinal curvature is a principal component of proper posture, every person’s ideal spinal curvature is different.
That’s why the team at PostureWorks uses Chiropractic BioPhysics® to assess your unique spinal curvature and create a customized treatment plan for improving your spinal health. With Chiropractic BioPhysics®, we incorporate treatments such as postural exercise, neuromuscular education, spinal traction, and chiropractic adjustments to keep you free from pain and prevent another back injury from deadlifting so that you can lift with confidence.
Contact us today if you’ve suffered a back injury from deadlift exercises or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.