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Old 12-03-2008, 02:53 AM   #1
Wes Harper
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Default Muscle Imbalances & Back Pain

I was wondering as I sit here with an aching back once again if anyone has had success preventing back pain by addressing muscle and strength imbalances. I have about a 14 year history of occasional SI joint pain and lower back muscle strains that have flared up mostly when I lift heavy weight from the floor ie deadlift, clean, or when I do heavy squats. I've been training for about 17 years, but only started intelligent functional training about 2 1/2 years ago when my chiropractor introduced me to Crossfit. Through crossfit I became real interested in olympic lifting, found the PM, and have absolutely loved O-lifting ever since. My problem is it is very hard to get stronger and better when you tweak your back every couple of months or so.
I've had a couple professional opinions on my back, and there is not any problem with any of my disc; it seems that the bulk of my pain comes from my SI joint and is mostly on my right side. I am very right side dominant. My hip flexors, abductors, hamstrings... on my right side are slightly less flexible/tighter than my left side and my right side is definitely a little stronger than my left as well. So I have a tendency to load my right side more when I squat or DL heavy. So since I'm such a genious I've concluded in 14 short years that I might need to address my imbalances. My question is what is the best way to go about it? I've read a few articles on T-nation by Boyles and such that have dumbbell routines with a lot of single leg and single arm work, but I don't know if there is a better way and hopefully a more fun way to go about it. Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:06 AM   #2
Garrett Smith
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The single-arm and -leg work will be your best bet. Easiest thing for you to do will be to change your perception of them as not being "fun"--they will facilitate you being able to do your truly "fun" activities without the tweaks every couple months.

Rehab takes diligence and patience. Not what most consider "fun" work.

Mike Robertson tends to be the "hips" guy, I'd look to his articles. Here's one to start:
His articles can be found here:

Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:26 AM   #3
Allen Yeh
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I think Aimee was having SI joint problems lately as well, I'd shoot her an email and see what she did. I want to say ART and chiro helped her a lot but I can't remember exactly.
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
Pain is your companion, don't go hide from it."
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:37 AM   #4
Craig Brown
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Sound slike my last year and a half. ART & Chiro got me moving. Hatha Yoga is fixing the imbalances I have with this. The difficulty is getting everything to fire properly post injury.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:46 AM   #5
Kris Reeves
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Check out http://backfitpro.com. If you can get your hands on one (or both) of those books I think you'll be on the right track.

For me, I was constantly having nagging back pains/strains/pulls that would put me out of commission from anywhere between 1-3 days up to about 2 weeks...then having to bump weight back to ridiculously low levels.

It wasn't until I made a concerted effort to make lower back and ab work a focus that I could no longer ignore. Yeah, doing 'core' work sucks, it takes time that I feel like I don't have and let's face...it's boring as hell. BUT, it keeps me on track! I've learned that I have no option, but to include core work almost every day.

The most noticeably beneficial exercises (for me at least) was to start doing lots of side and front planks. I really hate doing side planks...but there benefit far outweighs their sucky-ness.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:10 PM   #6
Wes Harper
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Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Could be a slipped SI joint... Or could just be something like one leg is slightly longer than the other.

There's lots of things that could be wrong. I would try to find a PT or chiro who knows what to check for.

Beyond that, a lot of core/leg strengthening and flexibility to tight areas.
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