"BACK TO THE BAR... My Journey Back to Heavy Squats after Debilitating Back Pain!"
On this week's blog Dr. Allyssa shares her struggles with low back pain and how she fought back to the weight rack after her injury. Keep reading if you have every struggled with back pain and are looking for hope...
I step up to the bar for a warm up set of squats. I get in a quick 10 reps and start to feel a slight twinge in my low back... “It’s nothing... I probably just slept wrong last night. I’ll load it up anyways”
I throw a 35lb plate on each side and set up to get in my first working set. I put the bar on my shoulders and stand up with the bar -- BAM! There is it, excruciating pain all the way down my back. I take the bar off trying to hold back tears. “Maybe I can walk it off”, I thought. I limp around the gym a little and can’t seem to shake this pain. “Maybe I need to stretch” was my next thought. I sit down and try to put my feet out in front of me, but I can’t even straighten my legs without extreme pain. I finally decided to leave the gym and go home. I laid down in bed for a while but couldn't seem to find a comfortable position. NOTHING felt good.
This would be the start of a 2 year battle with low back pain.
Some days were better than others, but not a day went by that I didn’t feel something in my lower back whether it was pain, stiffness, or just feeling sore. I also started having aching down one or both of my legs that went the whole way to my foot.
And don’t even get me started on the flare-ups. The flare-ups were when I really got down. One wrong move and I was out of commission for a week!
I went from working out 5-6 times per week to not even being able to walk on the treadmill without terrible pain in my back. Working out is my favorite part of the day and when my ability to do what I wanted in the gym was taken away, I didn’t know what to do.
I felt like my whole identity was taken away from me in one day. I couldn't work out, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't sit in class. I had to cancel plans with friends because I was in so much pain.
There would be days I had to leave in the middle of class because the aching in my leg was so bothersome I couldn’t take it anymore. It felt like a constant battle. I would have a flare up while working out, start to feel better, start working out again and then flare up.
I was in Physical Therapy school at the time and decided “HEY, I should schedule an appointment and see what they can do for me!” I tried traditional PT for about a month at a traditional PT clinic. I got some relief initially..enough to calm down the immediate flare up. However, I wasn’t making any TRUE progress. It just kept coming back. Once my Physical Therapist realized it wasn't working she referred me to a “back specialist”. I put this in quotes because there was NOTHING special to me about this appointment.
I made the appointment and he performed x-rays. He told me nothing was wrong with me, to stop working out if it hurt, and sent me on my way. GREAT!!! AWESOME NEWS!!!! (sike...)
The thoughts came flooding in...
“Was this something I would have to live with forever?”
“Maybe this is just my new normal.”
“Was I supposed to just not workout again?”
These were just a few of the thoughts that filtered through my mind daily.
I tried to use ice, I tried to use heat, I took over the counter anti-inflammatories, I even went for a massage. Everything gave me some temporary relief, but nothing would take it away completely.
It wasn't until I had a flare up that left me unable to walk for 3 days that I realized something had to change! I wasn’t accepting the “diagnosis” of “just living with it”.
I began working at Roscoe Physiotherapy as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in May 2019. This is where I discovered the true cause and solution to my low back pain with the help of Dr. Anthony. In my mind, the pain in my back was the problem..but I was not correct.
I learned that my posture, the weakness and tightness throughout my hips, and my technique when performing lifts was my TRUE problem.
I basically had to take it back to the basics. Learn how to properly activate the muscles in my hips, build up strength with very simple (yet extremely challenging) exercises and set up my body in a position that will take pressure off my low back.
I also had to stop doing things that were flaring up my back pain for a little while. This was kind of a “duh” moment for me..but something that no one had ever told me to do before. So I didn't know how beneficial it would actually be. This consisted of decreasing the weight that I was lifting temporarily and really focusing on my form and technique with ALL lifts. This took a lot of work, but it was worth it to get back to where I wanted to be.
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY----->
I have now been back to working out 5-6x/week and have been able to squat, deadlift, and run without ANY low back pain!! Not only that, I am lifting HEAVY, with ZERO PAIN! This is honestly something that I thought I was never going to be able to do! It feels great to be able to exercise and feel good while doing it again. My mindset is better than ever and I feel like I have my identity back!
I am extremely grateful and blessed that I began working at a clinic that digs deep and focuses on finding the TRUE cause of the problem!
Going through this experience myself, I am extremely
passionate about helping people get rid of this debilitating low back pain that they think they have to “just live with”.
And I now have the experience, tools, and roadmap to help you get rid of your low back pain too... THE RIGHT WAY!
Yours in Health, Dr. Allyssa
Do you or someone you know suffer with back pain?
If yes, Click here to schedule a 15 minute phone call with a physical therapist to determine what your best options are moving forward, and how to get back to your best health ASAP!
P.S. If you’ve got back pain that’s stopping you from being able to keep active right now, click the following link and you can download our free back pain guide to help you get moving again: www.roscoephysio.com/backpain