View Full Version : lower backache!!!!!

January 27th, 2004, 02:44 PM
does anyone else suffer from lower back ache later the same day of a swim,i normally do free,breast some back ,some fly but mainly free,about 2500metres average three times per week

January 27th, 2004, 03:06 PM
Every afternoon (on the workout day - which is just about every day for me) there isn't much in a way of my muscles that aren't at least mildly sore.

That includes lower back. At first I thought I'm having lower back problems, but it turned out that the lower back muscles just get sore in a certain way.

They do hurt a bit more on the IM stroke days, or on hard kick days.

January 28th, 2004, 02:54 PM
Sounds like you've strained your back muscles at some time and now you may have developed a weakness in your lower back. Maybe worth noting down when you start to feel pain. Could be from carrying a heavy object. ...Yoga would be a good way to strengthen your back muscles, plus a great way to stretch those hamstrings.

January 28th, 2004, 04:36 PM
yes, stretching is an excellent suggestion. Also, it sounds like you've good underdeveloped lower back muscles...working on stregthening that could really cure your problem along with the stretches.

Try the superman, or flopping fish--lay on your stomach arms straight out, and feet pointed back likeyour superman flying straight ahead. Put your chin directly on teh mat or floor. then make yourself a "u" shape with emphasis on your lower back. Try 3 sets of 10--and hold the "u" for 5 seconds. Then gradually move up to hodling the "u" for 10 seconds.

This will really help you.

Mag Bowen
January 28th, 2004, 05:47 PM
My lower back hurts on IM and fly day, too. I just try to stretch a LOT and work on strengthening abs...using the stability ball and slant board. Your posture in general has a lot to do with it too. "Zip up" your abs as much as possible--meaning, contract them throughout the day as if trying to press against your spine.

January 28th, 2004, 07:04 PM
Keep in mind, sometimes back pain is a consequence of tight hamstrings (especially if you have been sitting on them during the workday). Besides the other suggestions, you might want to do toe touches.

old dog
January 28th, 2004, 09:42 PM
As one who has suffered greatly from lower back pain for most
of my life, I concur with Mattson. Truly, "the head bone is connected to the foot bone". For 25 years,I have have been stretching
my ham strings [as well as other parts] EVERY morning for 15
minutes a day minimum. I find it has helped me lead a much
more normal life than before stretching. And the fitness of swimming 4-5 times a week has also decreased my problems
10 fold. Hope to teach you a few new tricks...;)

January 29th, 2004, 07:05 PM
I urge you to be very cautious concerning lower back pain. About a couple of years ago my back started aching after swimming butterfly . . . just a mild ache, though, nothing I was really worried about. I just stretched it out after swimming a butterfly or IM set and continued on with the practice. Then, one day, after hyperextending on a dive at a meet, I started having some SERIOUS back pain. X-rays showed that I have a condition called "spondylolisthesis," which can be caused by repeated hyperextention of the back. I have a fractured vertebrae which has slipped out of place which causes serious pain by pressing on the nerve when I extend my back. I haven't swum butterfly for over a year. Now, I am going in for a spinal fusion to (hopefully) correct the problem. You do not want to be in my shoes. I would suggest you see a doctor right away. It couldn't hurt. He/she must suggest getting an x-ray; if not, I'd request one, so that you can find out what's going on (and hopefully rule out spondylolisthesis). Oh, and I noticed that another poster said that back problems are caused by tight hamstrings . . . not necessarily true. It is the case that tight hamstrings and back problems often go hand-in-hand; however, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. And my hamstrings are not tight.

January 30th, 2004, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by AWeiss
Oh, and I noticed that another poster said that back problems are caused by tight hamstrings . . . not necessarily true. It is the case that tight hamstrings and back problems often go hand-in-hand; however, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. And my hamstrings are not tight.

Try reading again... I said "sometimes". No one else mentioned the possibility, so I did. (Until recently, I certainly didn't know that sometimes back pain is caused by tight hamstrings.)

Just like no one mentioned the possibility that it could be something more serious like a fractured vertebrae, so you brought it up.

January 30th, 2004, 05:30 PM
A Weiss,

I'm confused -- is there a relationship between the fractured vertebra and the spond etc. ? Did the hyperextensions fracture your vertebra? That's very alarming.


January 30th, 2004, 05:45 PM
My point was that the jury is still out on whether or not having tight hamstrings is indeed a POSSIBLE cause of back problems, or whether having lower back problems is the cause of tight hamstrings. I posed this question to various physical therapists, chiropractors, doctors, and physiatrists over the course of my treatment. Many indicated that tight hamstrings are actually not the cause back pain . . . it is a question of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Many doctors told me that although many people who have back problems also have tight hamstrings, it was actually a lower back problems which resulted in tight hamstrings- not the other way around. And, as I stated before, sometimes there is no connection between the two at all, as was true in my case. Nevertheless, it certainly couldn't hurt to work on stretching your hamstrings, and hey, if the result is that your lower back feels better . . . great! But I would also go to see a physician, take your back pain seriously, and request an x-ray. I wish I had. If so, I might not be getting a spinal fusion next month (at age 31). Back surgery is a very serious procedure with high risks involved- an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of "cure" (if you can call back surgery a "cure").

January 30th, 2004, 06:00 PM
For June O:

Yes, the repeated hyperextentions are the likely cause of the fractured vertebrae (in the literature, it's called "butterfly back"). The condition of having a fractured vertebrae that has slipped out of place is called spondylolisthesis. It can be asymptomatic, and, quite possibly, it was for a while in my case (hence the mild lower back pain), until that one weird dive aggravated it. Anyway, that's why I recommend getting the x-ray- you can find out if you have the fracture and take the necessary precautions to avoid putting yourself at risk for worse pain and problems.

January 31st, 2004, 11:41 PM
You may have even been born with this condition and just aggravated it when you hyperextended.
I've had the condition since I was about 7-8 years old and my back would go "out" (which is also the SI joint moving around). When I was 11-12--it was diagnosed by an ortho -- but we did nothing except get me out of gym classes.
As an adult--about 5-6 years ago I was having back problems and I was sent for a bone scan to see if I had ever had a stress fracture in the spine OR currently had one. No trace of a fracture.
However, when I took some x-rays, from 1988, to an orthopedic surgeon as part of a packet of information (including an MRI) for my herniated disk--he spotted the spondy problem right off the bat. Wanted to do the surgery on that BUT I knew this pain was different from what I'd experienced before---it WAS the herniated disk.
However, now, a year later I'm having some mild lower leg and foot problems and we're not sure (yet) if I've got scar tissue OR re-herniated the disk!

February 1st, 2004, 03:05 AM
Interesting thread. Knock on wood, I've never suffered lower back problems, but I would go along with the group and say you should probably have it checked out.

Another good stretch for both the hamstring and lower back--one of my favorites:

stand with feet about shoulder width apart
stretch your arms out to the sides
now turn your trunk so you bring one palm to meet the other and both of your feet are facing in the same direction one behind the other, still about the same distance apart as when you were facing forward.
plant the heel of your back foot
the knee of the front leg is slightly bent
place your hands on the thigh of the front leg for back support
tighten the abs a little to support the back also
bend forward slightly--keeping head/neck/spine in nutral position
hold like that for a few seconds to lengthen muscles, then
drop your chest toward your knee, bend at the hip flexors
you will feel the stretch in your front hamstring and lower back
hold in the deep stretch (keeping head/neck/spin in nutral) for a few seconds longer
turn and repeat on other side.

February 1st, 2004, 01:09 PM
I'd also suggest getting it checked out by a doctor ASAP. I started having lower back pain when I was 18 and ignored it until I couldn't walk home from class one day. The first doctor I went to was only able to determine that I had a muscle spasm in my lumbar muscles near my shoulder blades, which was causing the entire muscle group to tense up. Later I got an X-ray done, and it revealed a compression fracture in my spine in the T-6 (which is right between my shoulder blades, hence the muscle spasm there).

The only way to completely heal it would be to isolate it for 3 months so that it could fuse - essentially, that would have meant a body cast. I took a gamble on the fact that I was young enough that it might not be so bad, since there was no way that I could sit around like that for 3 months. So what followed was a great deal of physical therepy, cold and hot packs almost all the time, barely being able to finish a bunch of my swim practices in college, and being doped up on muscle relaxers for a significant portion of two years of my life. It finally stopped being consistently painful around my 21st birthday, but I still have flare ups here and there.

I still think that overall, it was less aggrivating than sitting around doing nothing for 3 months. But, if I'd caught it right away, rather than waiting 6 months, I would have been able to start physical therepy a lot earlier and prevent a lot of the muscle inflamation that followed.

My final piece of advice is to not quit swimming and go to another sport - I got this injury while I took a year off from swimming my freshman year of college to row. Oh, the silly things we do when we are young...


February 2nd, 2004, 04:14 PM
I have a similar problem to AWeiss and msgrupp. I was told that there was nothing wrong with my back after x-rays and MRI. So I took the x-rays to my shoulder Dr., and he saw the stress fracture. He told me it probably occurred when I was younger and was asympotmatic until I moved about 10 years ago and aggravated it. It was misdisagnosed as a herniated disk for many years. Gymnasts and football players are the most common suffers. In addition to swimming, I did gymnasts, ballet and acrobatics for years when I was younger.
My back tends to hurt after standing or sitting for long periods, after practice and moreso during long course training. That is because as I get tired, my muscles in my core get tired and I start to sag in the middle as I am swimming (hence hyperextending my back). **No smart comments about sagging middles please;-) It is also tender and sore to the touch a lot. I am doing pilates and some core stengthening which seems to help, and I go to PT when I have major flare ups because it is hard to break the pain cycle once it happens. Also causes pain in other places too (leg, hip). I try to limit the things that hurt, but am not always as smart as I should be.
I agree with AWeiss' recommendation. I also would make sure that the Orthopedic Dr. looks at the x-rays and not just the report from the radiologist. I would also suggest that you try and find someone who knows the sport of swimming. Explaining to a Dr. who knows nothing about the sport that it hurts when you do certain things but not others will mean more to a swimmer. Perhaps one of your team mates is a Dr.? Also, core strengthening will help your swimming and might help your back too. Just don't do anything that hurts!
I was told my condition is called spondylolysis. I think this is just the stress fracture part with a little misalignment when healing occurred. I think from reading information on www.back.com, AWeiss' condition is when the stress fracture causes the vertibrae to slip (different from a slipped disk, which might be another reason for your pain).

AWeiss good luck with surgery and keep me posted as to your progress.

December 8th, 2005, 04:38 PM
I too have had some recurring (2-3 times a year) lower back problems stemming from work injury 6 yrs ago (hefting around large computer monitors solo when I should have had help).

Just had a "tweak" in the lower back after a 3 week period when I didn't get in my regular Yoga practice OR regular swimming OR regular running. I have to send a message to yoga instructor prior to resuming group practice on Monday.

Questions for assembled USMS folk before I have an appt next week with orthopedic doc:
? Which types of swim training should I DEFINITELY avoid ?
I'm staying away from backstroke and butterfly for now, heck I'm so bad in the latter and shoulder is tight that I've stayed away from them for the most part anyway.
? What about distance vs short intervals ?
Stretching out to go a fast 50 (for me that's just under 40, not a speed demon) doesn't feel bad, but I can't get to full extension comfortably. Stay with longer, or at least slower repeats ?

I'm off running for now until fast walking is REALLY comfortable this time. Mainly a runner, so this is interesting having swimming as the primary exercise!

Cheers de Mark W4CHL

December 8th, 2005, 05:10 PM
I was having muscle stiffness and an upper back, between the shoulder blades issue for months. I visit the chiropractor when needed and he has given me some rear delt exercises to do . I also get a monthly massage.
Stretching was nonexistant until recently (3 weeks ago) I started to go to yoga right after practice once or twice a week. That's the ticket! The breathing and stretching really helps the back issue:D

Hopes this helps. Having a chronic "unhealthy" back is energy draining. Take care.