The deadlift is a weight-training exercise that helps build muscle, strength, and stamina. When performed correctly, it works the legs, core, buttocks, and back. Using an improper form or overdoing it can cause injury to the lower back. Recovering from a deadlifting injury usually takes a couple of days or a week. However, this depends on the severity of the injury. Recovery can be helped through:
- Home remedies
- Chiropractic treatment
- Natural back pain relief tips
Back Injury After Deadlifting
Most individuals will feel sore after a strenuous workout. But there is a difference between soreness and injury. Most of the time, injuries from deadlifts are caused by not using the proper form. Getting the form right is not easy; it takes practice, so do not feel bad if an injury occurs.
Soreness vs. Injury
Most of the time, telling the difference between natural soreness from a workout and pain from an injury is pretty straightforward. But sometimes, it is not as easy to tell the difference. Soreness is typically characterized by:
- Muscle ache
- Fades after two or three days
Muscle soreness tends to be shallow and spread out over a muscle group. Pain from an injury causes sharp and persistent pain, especially with certain movements. Injury pain is deeper and can be described as stabbing or sharp.
Common Deadlifting Injuries
The deadlift has a wide range of motion and incorporates several different joints. Most injuries sustained during a deadlift are low-back injuries. Usually a sprain or a strain. But sustaining a more serious injury like a herniated disc is possible.
Sprains vs. Strains
Sprains and strains are different, although many use the terms interchangeably.
- A sprain happens when the ligaments that hold a joint together tear.
- A strain happens when the muscles tear or are overworked to the point of injury.
A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like fluid cushion between the vertebrae begins to protrude. This can cause pain from the disc pressing on surrounding nerves or go unnoticed. Fortunately, sprains, strains, and herniated discs can all be treated conservatively. Seeing a medical professional is recommended to rule out serious conditions.
Injury Lower Back Pop
Some individuals experience an audible pop in the spine during a deadlift. For those that experience a pop but no pain accompanying it, it is likely gas escaping from a joint in the back. Those that experience discomfort or pain with the popping are encouraged to seek medical attention.
Healing a Back Injury
Healing a back injury depends on the severity. The more severe, the longer it will take to heal. Most injuries can be addressed at home. Individuals that cannot stand up straight or there is debilitating pain with normal movements should see a medical professional like a:
- Physical therapist
Rest and let the body recover
Getting back to the gym as soon as possible can be tempting, but this is not recommended until the back truly feels normal. Resting for a few days is recommended, allowing any swelling or inflammation to go down.
Ice and heat
Applying ice to the back every few hours for 15 to 20 minutes is recommended for the first three days, then heat can be incorporated. After three days, if there is still pain, incorporate heat to get more blood flowing in and around the area. Use the ice for 15 to 20 minutes, wait 30 minutes, then apply the heat for 15 minutes.
Seeing a chiropractor during any stage of recovery can be beneficial. As chiropractors are musculoskeletal specialists that can realign the body back to its proper form. If four days or more have passed and the pain is not going away, make an appointment with a certified chiropractor or spine specialist.
Time of Recovery
Most individuals recover within a week or two. For more severe injuries, like a herniated disc can take 6 to 8 weeks. Seeing a medical professional can help speed the process and promote healing. Additional tips include:
- Setting up the bed for back injury recovery
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Gentle stretching
- Avoiding lifting heavy objects
- Maintaining proper posture
Deadlifting can be done safely and properly without sustaining an injury. A personal trainer or a sports chiropractor can analyze an individual’s lifting form and offer recommendations to prevent injury.
Foods Good for Collagen Production
Healthy nutrition can facilitate optimal collagen synthesis without supplementation. Protein sources that work with non-essential amino acids contribute to increased collagen production. High-quality protein sources support this process. Vegetarian protein sources, including legumes or tofu, are good alternatives. Collagen synthesis requires vitamin C, copper, and zinc.
- Vitamin C regulates the synthesis pathway
- Zinc stimulates the body to produce more collagen
- Copper activates an enzyme that helps mature/strengthen the collagen
- Sources of copper include nuts, seeds, whole grains, and chocolate
Most importantly is plenty of vitamin C-rich foods like:
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
Bengtsson, Victor, et al. “Narrative review of injuries in powerlifting with special reference to their association to the squat, bench press and deadlift.” BMJ open sport & exercise medicine vol. 4,1 e000382. 17 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000382
Core strength training helps manage back pain: Journal of Physical Therapy Science (March 2015) “Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain.” www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/27/3/27_jpts-2014-564/_article/-char/ja/
Millions of Americans experience back pain daily: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020) “Acute Low Back Pain.” www.cdc.gov/acute-pain/low-back-pain/
Free weights come with a greater risk of injury compared to machines: National Strength and Conditioning Association (December 2000) “Roundtable Discussion: Machines Versus Free Weights.” citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.451.9285&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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