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  • Writer's pictureJesse Lewis

Should I feel lower back pain from working out?

Updated: Feb 7

How do I stop feeling my lower back during this exercise? That’s a question we get all the time. Rest assured, feeling your lower back during your workouts isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just as you would expect to feel a bicep curl in your bicep, you should expect to feel the muscles in your lower back during exercises that engage it. In fact, if you aren’t feeling your exercises in your lower back, you might not be doing enough to strengthen it.

Learn when your lower back pain is normal versus when you might want to change your routine or book an appointment with a physical therapist.

Normal lower back pain soreness

It is completely normal to feel fatigue or tightness during or immediately after exercises that engage your back or core. Examples of exercises that may cause lower back fatigue include deadlifts, barbell squats, bent over rows, supermans, kettlebell swings, and Olympic lifts. This sensation is normal as long as it doesn’t linger for too long after your workout.

Abnormal lower back pain

It’s important to look out for signs that your back pain should not be ignored. We never want you to work through the pain, causing more discomfort or injury to yourself.

Feeling your back during movements that don’t put stress on it

Firstly, It is not normal to feel your back during a movement that doesn’t engage your back muscles. Examples of movements that don’t stress your back out include: pull-ups, overhead presses, jump roping, and running. If you feel your back during these types of movements, it might be taking on more stress than it should.

Worsening soreness over time

If your back soreness is increasing over time, lasting long after your workouts, or starting earlier in your workout routine, this is a sign that your back is not responding well to those exercises. Normal soreness shouldn’t interfere with your daily life, wake you up at night, or spread to other parts of your back or body, like your legs. If any of these situations are the case, it is likely that you need to strengthen your back muscles, work on your form, or seek professional help.

Any kind of sharp pain

Any kind of sharp pain that impairs your ability to complete a movement is a red flag. While feeling some fatigue at the end of your squat is normal, feeling a sharp pinch or a pain that makes you not want to squat is not. If the soreness is more than a feeling of fatigue or makes you not want to do that exercise, this is a sign that something is wrong. Stop that movement right away. You can pick it back up in the future when your lower back pain subsides.

Experiencing soreness or tightness in your lower back while you workout isn’t a cause for concern. However, if you are feeling pain that is persistent or debilitating, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.

Get help with your lower back pain

Reach out to us by filling out this form or texting, or calling us at 202-922-7331.

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