Deadlift Back Pain: This popular exercise can cause serious low back pain

Deadlift back injuries

Deadlift Back Pain

I get to hear about back pain every day as an endoscopic spine surgeon. Back pain affects all age groups, both sexes and sometimes the pain is related to a specific activity. Now and then a pattern emerges that shows a common thread in a specific age group for chronic low back pain; deadlift back pain.

In my experience, the most common exercise cited by males in the 25-45 year old age group that is responsible for serious chronic low pain (and annular tear) is the deadlift. Unfortunately, I have seen way too many young males in great physical condition except for one thing – chronic low back pain from an annular tear.

The deadlift is described as one of the best exercises for building total-body strength, size, and athleticism. The deadlift is a strength exercise that works several muscle groups, including your back, the glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors, latissimus-dorsi and traps. It is one of only a handful of exercises that target muscles in the upper and lower body. Performing a deadlift with good form is imperative to reduce the risk of injury, particularly to the low back. There are numerous benefits attributed to the deadlift that include increased fat burning. better posture, Improved Grip Strength, and increase in hormones.

Once the annular tear occurs and becomes chronic (greater than 6 months), it usually won’t heal. It’s common to see a few doctors by this point and have an MRI that doesn’t show much except a disc bulge, which are common in people without any back pain. In addition to pain, your back might “just go out”, but nobody knows why. This is a disabling problem that is difficult to diagnose without a CT discogram. A good treatment plan can’t be generated without a good diagnosis. I usually recommend an endoscopic discectomy to treat this painful problem.

There are many obvious benefits to the deadlift, when done correctly, but it is easy to do incorrectly. Here are three sites that discuss how to do a deadlift correctly.


If you are someone you know is suffering from back pain of any kind have them contact my office and I’ll be happy to give them a free phone consultation.

Onward and upward,