Acute low back strain question

Well it happened again. Woke up, tried to put on my sock while standing, shooting pain went through my back and dropped to my knees. This isn’t the first time I’ve had an acute back strain. Usually happens in the morning from some mundane activity like yawning or sneezing and takes about a week to heal. I’ve done PT, gotten a bike fit, stretch daily, and tried lots of things to deal with it.

Strength training seems to be both the cure and the cause of my acute back pain episodes. The day before I did Int Level 1B and a gym session with back/upper body strength exercises in the afternoon, and cadence builds that night. I can only conclude that my back was over stressed and I need to dial it back. To reduce the stress I’m thinking 1 easier strength session per week, no riding and strength on the same day, and avoid the very high and low cadence stuff.

I’m wondering if anyone has dealt with this and any suggestions would be much appreciated. I know there’s a lot of cadence focused workouts in Suf but I’m starting to wonder if they’re worth the risk for me. Would riding at 80rpm vs 60 be a good compromise? Thanks!

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I had chronic back problems for years. I was eventually referred to a sports therapist that studied at McKenzie Institute. Maybe see if you can find someone who is a specialist in mechanical diagnosis (they don’t need to have studied at the same place) and see what they come up with.

I’m 2 months into rehab with my guy, and after exam, diagnosis and 1st round of treatment on day 1, I’ve been feeling better and better to the point where I am on one pain killer tablet a day, and likely to “graduate” to no more therapy sessions, no more pain killers, and a lifetime of 10-15 minutes a day of rehab exercises ahead of me to maintain it as it is.

It’s been a silver bullet for my problems, but everyone is different. Good luck.

Thanks, yep, I had a McKenzie therapist and am doing the daily exercises. At least I can really nail the cobra pose. Good luck to use as well.

@Burnsy While it may manifest in the back, often the issue is tight hips and hamstrings and less developed core muscles. I had problems with a cracked L4 for several years and experienced the fall to the floor pain that you describe. However, a regular program of stretching and core strength along with better functional movement has totally eliminated any back pain for me.

Can completely relate. This book (and the internal work I’ve done and continue to do since reading it) was a game changer for me. What was about a 2-3 times a year occurrence (for the better part of over 15 years) of debilitating lower back spasm that would lay me up for from a few days to a couple of weeks is now 100% under control. Haven’t had a recurrence in 2 straight years. YMMV, but for what it’s worth Dr. John Sarno: Healing Back Pain: the Mind Body Connection and a supplemental casual use of an app called Curable.

What book?

Dr. John Sarno: Healing Back Pain: the Mind Body Connection.


Hi @Glen.Coutts , I just started to read the book … it is the story of my life … I keep on reading and keep you informed with my progress.


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Interesting topic!
Unfortunately it happened to me too this morning, while reaching for a plate. I felt it cracking in the lower back…went to the floor from pain…and as with you, wasn’t the first time.
I was wondering, I started the spring challenge and did yoga yesterday with some back stretching. I suspect this is the reason it happened. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame suf here. I guess to avoid this from happening this is what actually needs to be done.
My question is how do you handle the days after? Are you doing exercise? Obviously only what’s somehow possible… or are you maybe trying to stretch? Or just avoid moving? In my case moving seems to help, most difficult part is actually getting up from a couch or so…and some movements are just pure pain…

Hey sorry to hear. Yeah my back doesn’t seem to tolerate some of the yoga and strength poses very well, so unfortunately I don’t do those anymore. Days after - yeah just rest, go for short walks. Movement seems to be good, obviously don’t overdo anything. Slowly ease back into things as the pain subsides, don’t rush it. May take some time to heal. Mine usually take about 3-5 days when they happen. I had success with a McKenzie method physical therapist. I’ve also adopted some of the mental training and Curable app recommended above. Good luck!


@TheBlackKite Your vertebrae may have slipped and the muscles around the site are now in spasm. I find riding actually helps to relax spasms. Generally I feel my back spasms come from two things: (1) not keeping the core muscles engaged when lifting or reaching and (2) tight hamstrings. Once you recover, I would not recommend giving up on the yoga. Yoga will help you if it is done properly. Also try adding some of the basic strength sessions too and throw in some leg overs, scorpions, bridges and inchworm to upward dog and inchworm to spiderman. Good luck!


Thanks a lot for the tips!
I tried some cycling and this worked indeed, at least as long as I kept the bended position :slight_smile:
I will continue with the yoga and strength training as soon as I m able again. Thanks again!

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I’m battling back pain as well and thought it was my tight hamstrings. However, it turned out to be a issue in the disc. I went to a ortho and had a few procedures to relieve the pain if it were in the joint of my back but the pain is coming from the disc. Not much they can do for that except surgery and he didn’t recommend it. The pain comes and goes but there isn’t much I can do about it. It’s really weird to get an MRI and see all the healthy discs in the spine and see the bad one. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

Long story short. Go and see your orho that specialized in this type of pain. Hopefully it’s a muscle issue and not a disc issue.

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When I get that sudden shooting pain that drops me to my knees it’s due to a pinched nerve. It’s happened to me a few times. I’ve had a few instances of back strain as well, but that was a different animal.