CALL US TODAY (716) 221-0040

How to Treat Lower Back Pain from Lifting Weights? Easy Tips

How to Treat Lower Back Pain from Lifting Weights? Easy Tips


Lower back pain from lifting weights is a common issue that affects many fitness enthusiasts, ranging from amateur gym-goers to professional athletes, with incidence rates reaching 40.8%. This type of pain can hinder your ability to perform daily activities and impact your workout routine significantly. Understanding the causes of this discomfort and knowing the right lower back pain from weight lifting treatment options are crucial steps towards recovery. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore easy and effective tips to treat lower back pain, ensuring you can return to your lifting regimen confidently and safely.

For those seeking expert guidance and personalized care, exploring Physical Therapy in Kenmore can provide targeted support and rehabilitation strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain from Lifting Weights

Improper Form and Technique

One of the primary causes of lower back pain lifting weights is poor lifting technique. When exercises are performed incorrectly, unnecessary strain is placed on the lower back, leading to discomfort and injury. 

Overloading the Spine

Heavy lifting for your current level of strength can overload the spine. This overloading can result in acute lifting injuries or chronic conditions due to the excessive force exerted on the lower back. 

Lack of Muscle Balance and Core Strength

A lack of muscle balance and core strength can also lead to lower back pain from lifting weights. The core muscles play an important role in stabilizing the spine during lifting exercises. Weakness in these muscles means the lower back has to compensate, leading to pain and potential injury.

Prevention Tips

To prevent lower back pain from lifting weights, consider the following quick tips:

  • Always warm up before lifting weights to prepare your muscles and joints.
  • Ensuring proper alignment and movement during weightlifting to avoid putting undue pressure on the spine.
  • Focus on maintaining a neutral spine throughout exercises.
  • Strengthen your core muscles to support your lower back.
  • Gradually increase the weight you lift to avoid overloading your spine.

Types of Lower Back Injuries from Weightlifting

Types of Lower Back Injuries from Weightlifting

Studies have shown that the lower back is a common site of injury for weightlifters, representing 23% to 59% of all injuries. This highlights the lower back’s susceptibility during weightlifting activities. Below, we’ll delve into the types of injuries affecting this area, shedding light on their characteristics.

Lumbar Strain

A lumbar strain occurs when the muscles or tendons in the lower back are stretched or torn due to overexertion. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the lower back area, which can be worsened by movement.


Sciatica is characterized by pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, from the lower back down through the legs. This condition can be triggered by weightlifting, especially if the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated.

Slipped Disc/Herniated Disc

A slipped or herniated disc happens when the soft cushion between the vertebrae protrudes out, putting pressure on the nerves. This can cause severe lower back pain and numbness in the legs, often a result of lifting heavy weights without proper form.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is another common injury from lifting weights, resulting from overstretching or tearing muscle fibers in the lower back. This leads to immediate pain and limited mobility.

Lumbar Sprain

A lumbar sprain occurs when ligaments—the tough bands of tissue connecting bones—are stretched too far or torn. Like a muscle strain, this injury causes pain and difficulty in movement, often stemming from improper lifting techniques.

Preventive Measures

Preventing lower back pain from lifting weights starts with adopting a proactive approach to your workout routines and daily activities. Here are key strategies to keep in mind:

  • Educate Yourself on Proper Form: Before attempting new exercises, ensure you understand the correct form and technique. Think about partnering with a certified personal trainer who can safely navigate you through the correct movements.
  • Strengthen Your Core: A strong core supports your lower back, reducing the risk of injury. Incorporate exercises like planks, bridges, and abdominal crunches into your routine.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to what your body tells you. If you experience pain or discomfort while lifting, stop immediately. Continuing to exercise despite pain may result in more severe injuries.
  • Gradually Increase Weight Loads: Avoid the temptation to lift heavier weights too quickly. Gradually increase the intensity to give your body time to adapt and build the necessary strength.

Easy Tips for Treating Lower Back Pain

Stay Active

Contrary to the instinct to rest, staying gently active can facilitate quicker recovery. Activities like walking or light stretching can improve blood flow to the affected area, promoting healing.

Improve Posture

Good posture, both during workouts and in daily life, can significantly reduce strain on your lower back. Make conscious efforts to maintain a neutral spine and avoid poor posture, such as slouching.

Use Heat and Cold

Applying ice packs in the first 48-72 hours after experiencing pain can help reduce inflammation. After this period, switch to heat therapy to relax and soothe tight muscles.


Regular stretching can improve flexibility and reduce tension in the muscles surrounding the lower back. Focus on gentle stretches for the hamstrings, hip flexors, and core muscles.

Pain Relief Cream

Topical pain relief creams can provide temporary relief from lower back discomfort. Look for products with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like arnica or menthol.


Therapeutic massage can help relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. Consider seeing a professional masseuse who specializes in sports injuries.

Switch Shoes

Wearing shoes with proper support can reduce stress on the lower back during lifting and daily activities. Invest in quality footwear designed for stability and comfort.

Workstation Change

If you spend long hours at a desk, ensure your workstation is ergonomically set up. An ergonomic chair and keeping the monitor at eye level can prevent slouching and reduce excess strain on the back.


Quality sleep is crucial for healing. Use a supportive mattress and try sleeping in a position that reduces pressure on your lower back, such as on your side with a pillow between your knees.


A nutritious diet can aid in recovery. Foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce pain and swelling.

Manage Stress

Stress can cause lower back pain worse. Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help manage stress levels, contributing to overall well-being.


Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used for short-term relief. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any medication.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can design a customized program to strengthen the muscles around your lower back, improving flexibility and reducing pain.

Alternative Treatment Options

Alternative Treatment Options

Physical Therapy Techniques

Physical therapists are equipped with a range of specialized techniques designed to address lower back pain directly, offering relief and facilitating a faster recovery process. These techniques go beyond traditional exercises, targeting the pain at its source and promoting healing in the tissues. Here’s a closer look at some of these innovative approaches:

  • Dry Needling: This technique involves inserting thin, sterile needles into specific points within the muscle tissue, known as trigger points, to relieve pain and muscle tension. Dry needling can help improve flexibility and decrease stiffness in the lower back, making it a valuable tool for addressing muscle-related back pain.
  • Ultrasound Therapy: Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to generate heat deep within muscle tissues, promoting increased blood flow and reducing inflammation. This gentle heating effect can help soothe sore muscles, alleviate pain, and enhance the healing process, making it particularly effective for soft tissue injuries.
  • Electrical Stimulation: Techniques such as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) use low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the muscles and nerves in the lower back. This stimulation can help manage pain, reduce muscle spasms, and prevent muscle atrophy during the recovery period. Electrical stimulation is also believed to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, providing further relief from discomfort.
  • Manual Therapy: Physical therapists often use their hands to apply pressure and movement to the muscles and joints in the lower back. Techniques include massages, stretching, and mobilization. These methods can help improve range of motion, decrease pain, and encourage proper alignment and function of the back muscles and spine.

Lifestyle Modifications for Ongoing Back Health

Maintaining a healthy back requires a commitment to a few lifestyle changes:

  • Regularly engage in low-impact exercises to keep the back muscles strong and flexible.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on the lower back.
  • Stay hydrated to ensure optimal function of the tissues in your body, including those supporting the back.

Visit Kendall Performance Physical Therapy for Treatment Tailored for You

For those seeking personalized care, Kendall Performance Physical Therapy offers specialized treatment plans designed to address the unique needs of individuals suffering from lower back pain due to weightlifting. Our expert team utilizes a holistic approach to rehabilitation, ensuring not just recovery but also education on preventing future injuries.


Lower back pain from lifting weights can be a significant obstacle in your fitness journey, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent setback. By understanding the common causes, implementing preventive measures, and following the easy tips outlined in this guide, you can relieve pain and protect your back from future injuries. Remember, the key to a healthy back is a balanced combination of exercise, proper technique, and lifestyle choices.


How do I know if my back pain is serious?

If your back pain is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, unexplained weight loss, or numbness in the legs, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately for expert advice.

What not to do with lower back pain?

Avoid activities that worsen pain, particularly certain weight lifting exercises, to avoid lower back pain. This includes lifting heavy weights without proper form and sitting for extended periods without stretching breaks.

Is it better to rest or move with lower back pain?

While rest is important in the acute phase of back pain, staying active within pain-free limits is beneficial for recovery. Gentle movement can aid in healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area.

dr kee with his arms crossed and the words dr kee.

Dr. Christopher Kendall PT

Kendall Performance PT

We help athletes and active adults move better, live pain-free, and get stronger to improve the health of our community and provide each client the knowledge to remain healthy and independent the rest of their lives.