Dr. J and Lower Back Pain

Posted On: January 19, 2015

I am Dr. David A. Johnson and I am licensed as both a chiropractic physician and as a physical therapist in Illinois. I own and Direct North Shore Spinal & Sports Rehabilitation located in both Highland Park and Lake Bluff.

Ten days ago I injured my lower back in the weight room doing deadlifts. Why, you might ask would I be foolish enough to be deadlifting, when I am the director of North Shore Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation a truly progressive clinic that integrates chiropractic care and physical therapy? The answer is that deadlifting is a global strengthening exercise, which efficiently works multiple lower extremity muscle groups as well as all of the musculature of the trunk. By it’s very nature it is an advanced core strengthening exercise.

I have been training my entire life, since the age of 13 and one of the reasons that I was a successful athlete both at the high school and collegiate levels was the fact that I did my due diligence in the weight room. There is a considerable amount of evidence as to the benefits of strength training as we age and now that I am 51, I would like to maintain what I have.

Now mind you that there is a little ego and vanity involved. I like being in shape and, being both a chiropractic physician as well as a doctor of physical therapy, I think it is important to practice what I preach.

This is not the first time I have injured my lower back in the weight room. I did it once squatting, and one time before this deadlifting. Fortunately for me, I have knowledge on how to manage my condition and an excellent staff at my disposal.

I started with intermittent ice 20 minutes on and off. I did a McKenzie lateral shift exercise to centralize the pain and to reduce my antalgic (crooked) posture. I had one of my colleagues do a manual shift maneuver and others perform myofascial release to the taut musculature. I got one session of electric stimulation and I got adjusted by one of the chiropractors on staff. When I was no longer antalgic, I worked into the prone press up exercise and spinal stabilization. Throughout the process I was limiting my sitting and being careful not to bend and twist. With that being said, I did continue to see patients.

Two days after the injury, I could barely put my socks and shoes on in the morning as the result of the severe lower back pain. By the end of the week of therapy I was back in the weight room doing light deadlifting. I would not typically recommend that someone return so quickly, but I am a trained athlete and have spent my entire life working out. I know my body well and have excellent lifting mechanics and I felt comfortable enough to return to lifting lightly.

One of my friends was laughing at me as he told me that lighter weights and more reps are a good prescription as we age. I told him that he probably is right but that my ego likes to push the envelope and that if I occasionally hurt myself it’s a price I am willing to pay. I also pointed out to him that I take care of a lot of people that have not done their due diligence in the weight room and when they injure themselves it takes them a lot longer to get out of pain. I pointed out that I pay the piper every time I go and work out and that these little mishaps that occur are part of the price. I also know in my heart that the training I have done over a lifetime has helped me to recover faster than the average bear.

To learn more about our practice visit us at www.northshorerehab.com. To schedule an appointment, please call our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff office at 847.295.0920, or our Highland Park office at 847.432.4077. 

You may also use our online Request an Appointment form.


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