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Lower Back Injuries From Lifting Weights

author image Joshua McCarron
Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.
Lower Back Injuries From Lifting Weights
A man lifting weights in a gym. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Lower back pain and injury are common for people who lift weights regularly, as the nature of the exercises can put added strain on the lower back. Injury can range from a mild strain that interferes with your workouts to something that lands you in bed or even a hospital. Caution must be used when lifting weights to protect your lower back.

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Different injuries can happen to your low back depending on the movement and amount of weight involved. Muscle sprains and strain and ligament injuries are common weight-lifting injuries, says Spine Universe. Improper lifting technique can cause damage to muscles and tendons and create spasms. Stress fractures also are a possibility.


Taking precautions to prevent a low back injury will enable you to continue training without interruption. It is wise to know yourself and your limitations before you start a weight-lifting program. Any weak spots in your back must be taken into consideration. You can use machines that offer some protection compared with free weights, use less weight and observe proper lifting technique when picking weight off the floor. Having a spotter help you also can help prevent an injury.


A lower back injury typically manifests quickly, with a sudden, sharp twinge in your lower back. The pain might last only for a moment, but could come back later to cause bigger problems. Other symptoms can include difficulty bending, lifting objects, sitting, muscle spasms, swelling or bruising in the lower back.

Dangerous Exercises

Any weight-lifting exercise can place undue strain on the lower back if done incorrectly. Exercises that pose a risk just by the nature of the movement itself include the clean and jerk, barbell squat, snatch and deadlift. Exercises such as bent-over rows, where you are bent at the waist while holding weight, also pose greater risk to your back.


Treating a lower back injury can vary depending on its severity. Initially, resting the area and applying heat and cold in alternating intervals will likely provide relief. Anti-inflammatory medications, either over the counter or prescription, will reduce swelling. Massage might help to soothe sore muscles. In cases where more serious damage has occurred, surgery might be the best option.

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