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Lower Back Pain from Falling in Climbing – Treatment and Prevention

About 2~3 weeks ago, this happened. I was very close to sending my first V6~7,
so I got a little bit too excited and attempted the climb more times than I usually would. At the moment I felt okay, but when I left
the gym, my body started to cool down and I started to feel pain on my lower back. Then I wasn’t able to stand up straight. I knew right away it was because of the repeated
falls on the stiff bouldering mats. I used to jump down from a climb when there
used to be softer mats in my gym. I remember on the first day when they changed
the mats into the current stiffer ones, I felt the same kind of lower back pain, though
lighter, due to the same pattern of jumping down to finish a climb. From that day on, I have down climbed all
the way to avoid any jumping on the stiff mats. However, that doesn’t really solve the problem
because there are going to be climbs where the crux is at the top like this one, so inevitably
I will need to be able to fall on that height. Additionally, I have seen a lot of people
jumping down from the wall all the time onto the stiff mats and it doesn’t seem to cause
any problems for them, so I decided to reach out to people in my network to consult them. These people include doctors, fitness coaches and yoga instructors, and here is what I learned that works for me. The best medical treatment for this kind of
lower back pain is conservative management, which is short for avoiding bed rest and keeping
active, but avoiding strenuous activities. Here are the exercises I did to keep active. There are two yoga moves that I learned to
stretch the lower back very nicely. The first one is child’s pose, and the second
one is happy baby pose. You probably won’t feel anything if your
back is okay, but you will feel a huge relief from these poses when your back is in pain. I also learned that the lower back absorbs
all the impact from the fall because other parts of muscles that are supposed to be used
are weak, especially the glutes. Here are two glute workouts I learned that
can really work the glute muscles. Most importantly they are doable even when
you have lower back pain. The first one is the glute bridge, which works
the back of glute muscles, and the second one is the side leg raises, which works the
side of the glute muscles. At the same time I also climbed lightly on
the V0s and V1s to work out my entire body. Another thing I will constantly try is to
stand straight. Doing so with lower back pain, you will have
to squeeze the glute muscles and the upper back really hard, which means they will get
very tight and sore. Therefore, you can use the foam roller to
massage these muscles with these two kinds of moves, the back release and the gluteus
release. Caution, don’t foam roll the lower back;
otherwise, the pain will get worse. My lower back completely recovered after I
did all these for 5 days, which, honestly, was a lot faster than I imagined. I thought it would take at least 10 days or so. I went back immediately to work on the same
V6~7 because my gym was going to take it down soon. Usually I would be conservative but there
was time pressure. In the end I didn’t make it, which is pretty
sad, but the good thing is that I fell multiple times but my lower back felt totally fine. From now on, I am going to incorporate the
glute training exercises into my training routine, and I highly recommend you guys do
it, too. Thanks for watching. And as always, make sure to like and subscribe. See you in the next video.

Reynold King

39 Replies to “Lower Back Pain from Falling in Climbing – Treatment and Prevention”

  1. Hey thanks a lot! The tops on my gym are very high and this is a usually problem for all of us! Thanks for share it

  2. Can’t say I relate, never had this problem. But great video, our bouldering gyms walls are 20feet. I use to be a power lifter, so possibly the deadlifting has put in place preventative measures for this for me.

  3. On the glute bridge, it is really easy for the hamstrings to take over if your glutes are weak. I have a chiropractor friend who told me to imagine squeezing a quarter between your cheeks everytime you do it to prevent that.

  4. If you watch the way you landed vs the way the other climbers landed, you can see that you absorbed the force through your heels causing large amounts of the ground reaction forces to travel to the spine, the other climbers landed in a crouch squat which dissipated the forces and decelerated their landing. It seems like falling technique is the key prevention measure.

  5. I can strongly recommend squats (any kind) to strengthen both the glutes and the lower back in addition to the stretches you recommend. It worked for me and I'm aware of other climbers who handled their lower back issues in the same manner. Plus, there is carry-over to other aspects of bouldering, like strengthening your core, making one-leg moves easier, and getting you in the habit of engaging your entire body when making a hard move.

  6. I love the low key Tesla flex 🤣💪
    Awesome video, was really helpful! I go for yoga class twice a week and have found it to be really helpful when my muscles get super stiff from climbing and strength training.

  7. Great vid, and bonus points for telling people not to foamroll their backs 😀 Making a lacrosse-ball peanut does work wonders for the back and other smaller areas you want to target. So if you crave some self-miofascial release for the lower back, look up the peanut.

  8. I am literally going through the exact same process right now… We worked on falling techniques during climbing practice a few weeks ago and I landed on my heels on a thin mattress just as you described.

    I ride cyclocross besides climbing and when riding my indoor trainer my back hurts like hell.
    My wife had been kind enough to massage me, during this process and apparently my thighs are full of myalgia…
    The pain has apparently traveled through my lower back down through my glutes and into my thighs… Also resulting in headaches…
    I will definitely try your exercises and see if they can relieve me from the pain.

  9. Ok, this was perfect timing! Today I fell wrong and my back hurt a lot, but I don't think as bad as yours. It was on my first v4 route that I then managed to complete after about 10 minutes of a break to help my back heal a little. So, after 4 months, I finally got a v4, and only had 2 major injuries! 😝

  10. 哥们儿小心点,我朋友上周才刚刚目击一个女生从大概和你同样的高度跌落直接脚踝骨折,超扎心。第一不要太冒险,第二保持体力下落还是以爬下来为主。

  11. Excellent video as to the oft overlooked facet of training for climbing: maintenance. Been a fan of bridges and supermans for my lower back amidst my antagonistic, joint, and stability routine. Not the flashiest exercises, all low weight with high and easy repetitions, and hard to quantify gains.

    Are you contemplating expanding this to other aspects of maintenance?

  12. Great video as always!! If I might make one suggestion: on the gluteus release foam rolling technique, you don’t want to turn too far to the side, as you will hit your TFL (tensor fasciae latae) which is not good to foam roll either. Great job putting in that it’s not good to roll the lower back though!!

  13. That collapsible foam roller is awesome 😉 Great video. And good mention about not rolling the lower back (it's a good rule of thumb). A lot of us here at Brazyn will actually foam roll our low backs, but most experts recommend to avoid this area because it can put a lot of pressure on your lumbar disks and can cause injury if you don't do it properly (maybe we'll put out a video on the subject in the future). That said, it's never advisable to roll over an area that is injured or inflamed. If you have a low back spasm, the best practice is to try to focus the foam roller on the surrounding muscles – glutes and piriformis (as you pointed out) and your thoracic muscles (rolling the upper/mid-back can also help to relieve tension in the low back). Just remember to always have strong core engagement when rolling out your back. By addressing the whole chain, you can effectively tell your nervous system to chill out and the pain should start to dissipate. Nice work!

  14. do an Mri scan of your lower back. make sure you dont have any disc herniation problem. Then maybe consider doing the conservative treatment.

  15. I started doing lateral leg raises a long time ago, to prevent knee pain from running. Good to know I may have been getting this accessory benefit as well. I tend to do them standing up, because that's generally considered more applicable to athletic activities.

  16. I don't know whether you're intentionally acting funny or not, but I think this is an educational video with really good quality.

  17. I think incorporating some basic lifts like a weighted squat, bulgarian split squat or weighted lunge would do wonders. I know most climbers don't do weighted training but for people with weak or undeveloped muscles I think it would help them out.

  18. Really like this back pain guide, "Kenzαnο αyb" (Google it)! I was a little doubtful but used it yesterday and woke up with a more relaxed back. Sent this to my mother and father. As anticipated, they are also astounded and blown away of this guidebook. The most reliable remedy for back pain..

  19. This is SO RELATABLE. I've climbed at many gyms in LA and SD and the Mesa Rim shown here has THE worst mats I've ever experienced. I don't even see the point of having a mat if you're just going to make it feel like lightly padded concrete.

    (Grotto Climbing and Yoga is cheaper, is like 1 mile from mesa rim, is exclusively bouldering, and has real mats)

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