Question :

Back pain after heavy work out

Dear Ask The Doctor:
Hello, I am a 20 year old male, very healthy, with no medical conditions. About 5 days ago, I was in the gym doing power cleans. Everything seemed to be fine, I felt like I had a very good workout, and went home, nothing unusual at all. But late at night, when I was trying to sleep, my lower back started hurting. I didn't feel anything unusual at the gym, but I was pushing a lot of weight (150 pounds) I went to sleep at about 11, and woke up at 4 a.m. because it was hurting. I would say it has not been that painful, and on the next days it felt a lot like usual DOMS, the muscles repairing themselves. Now it is like a dull jabbing that is in different areads of the lower back. All pain is completely isolated to the lower back. It feels like it is just a pulled muscle, but I have no idea. I have not had any tingling in my legs or arms, however, on the day of I had a very weird experience about an hour after being in the gym which worried me. In the same way that ones leg can "fall asleep" my genitals fell asleep and became numb for about 2 minutes while I was sitting at the computer. I have never had that happen before or since, and am not sure if it was because my pants were too tight, a random coincidence. Everything is normal though, I masturbated about 20 minutes after it happened on the day of to make sure it functioned shortly after, and have absolutely no change in peeing or defecating. Any advice for what I should do is greatly appreciated.


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
Probably you are experiencing a Mechanical low back pain (LBP) due to the excessive weight pushing during the workout that put overstress on your back muscles. Mechanical low back pain is the second most common reason for seeing a physician in the United States. Of the US population, 85% will experience an episode of mechanical LBP at some point during their lifetime. The LBP tends to resolve within some weeks if you follow these conservative measures: a physical therapy program aimed to control the pain and the inflammatory process and teach you flexion and extension exercises of the spine to reduce the nerve tension, these exercises will improve the muscular strength and endurance of your lumbar muscles. Also is very important to keep a good posture at all times and practice low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, and bicycling, these can increase overall fitness without straining your low back. While standing, keep your head up and stomach pulled in. If you are required to stand for long periods of time, you should have a small stool on which to rest one foot at a time. Keep your weight under control. The use of anti-inflammatory medication (i.e.: “motrin”, “advil”, “aleve”) can be beneficial to manage the pain. Nearly everyone improves within a month following these conservative measures if it is a mechanical back pain. Otherwise, if the back pain persists for more than 2 months, in despite of the above mentioned measures, the evaluation by a physician to rule out other possible causes than just mechanic or postural is recommended.


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