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Deadlifts..the real cure of back pain.

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

A couple of weeks ago I presented the evidence supporting Strength and conditioning work and all of its benefits. I wanted to narrow in on an interest of mine, Back Pain.

Over the last 4 weeks there has been a big uptake in patients coming to see me with back pain episodes due to the opening of sporting pursuits and the good weather. So what's causing it? Well I have seen a number of Golfers who have seen the weather pick up and decided to hit the course x 3-4 times in a row. The second most prevalent cause is the green fingered gardener. The good weather has gotten people putting in some hours out in the gardens and rightly so.

So why are these patients coming in with back pain. Well firstly let me reassure you, the golf and the garden are not bad for your back. However, if it's the first time you’ve decide to put in the hours on either forum in the last number of months, the muscles have had to tolerate a new load and thus work hard. If your load has breached the capacity of these muscles then tension, pain and restriction in movement can occur.

So how can we improve the load tolerance of these tissues? Well a simple exercise known as a deadlift can be the cure of getting these muscles to become stronger.

A deadlift is a weighted exercise performed by picking up a weight from the floor.

The deadlift is a great exercise for working a group of muscles known as the posterior chain. Of particular interest are the glutes and erector spinae. These muscles are of utmost importance for performing tasks in the garden such as digging, planting or moving the wheelbarrow and in golf when striking the ball.

This exercise has been proven to be effective for back pain patients of all age groups and demographics. Holmberg et al followed up patients after 15months and the participants showed positive response to deadlift training in relation to pain intensity and functional status, but most importantly it increased their mental status around their back pains.

What should you do first if you have had a back pain flare up:

  • 98% of this type of back pain will settle within 7-14 days time.

  • You should first continue to try and stay active, walking can be the best help in the early stages.

  • Should pain not be easing an assessment with your Physiotherapy team at Sandycove can prove helpful, providing you with advice and perhaps some short term pain relief to get you moving a bit faster.

Prevention is then the next stage. Within our sessions of Physiotherapy we would look at the capacity of these posterior chain muscles and then coach you to perform a deadlift action. This is important if you are new to this form of exercise.

How long does it take?

It naturally takes 6-8 weeks of practice and progressive loading to create a notable change and in the first week or two you may need to focus on light load tasks which will allow your pain to settle.

What can you expect?

A little bit of hard work but a long term change in your symptoms. Coaching and guidance throughout the process.

Should you wish to discuss this further please drop me an email - or book a 1hr long appointment online.

Wishing you a full recovery,

Sandycove Physiotherapy


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