What you did – You went too low on a squat or lost the natural arch in your lower back on a deadlift, good morning, or other exercise.

What you feel – A pop in your lower back followed by pain and loss of range of motion.

The diagnosis – Most likely a strain of one or more of the muscles that surround and support the lower spine.

The Treatment

  • In the first 48 hours your goal is to calm the spasm. Make a large enough ice pack to cover your entire lower back and ice the area for 20 minutes while lying facedown.
  • The spasm will “reach out” beyond the actual injury spot, so it’s best to cover everything. Repeat the icing four to six times a day. Ice 20 minutes on and 30–40 off.
  • If you can, get a qualified massage therapist to work on your back. Otherwise, use a foam roller. Place it between your back and a wall and shift your body weight to roll out the area. Press as hard as you can on each side of your spine.
  • After rolling, lie on your back, pull both knees to your chest, and hold for 30 seconds. You’ll feel a stretch in your lower back repeat five to eight times.


Prevent lower-back problems with these three guidelines.

Strengthen Your Core – This is essential if you want to be able to support heavy weights. Do core exercises at least three days a week.

Progress Slowly – You can’t hit a new max every week. Gradually working up in load while keeping good form will give your body time to adapt.

Warm Up Properly – Activate your glutes and loosen your hips with a dynamic warmup before lower body sessions.