Exercise! - Back injury from crunches

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05-16-2011, 10:50 PM
Recently I've had sharp pain in my lower back that is most aggravated when bending over, though today (the worst it's been) it aches constantly. I think I damaged it from doing crunches on a hard floor - I had read warnings about heightened risk but did them anyway.

Do you have any advice on how to fix/relieve the pain aside from ceasing movement completely? At this point, even walking and standing is slightly painful. I hope I haven't damaged myself irreversibly; I'm only 24!

05-17-2011, 08:29 AM
For Muscle Strain - Aleve
For Inflamation - Advil


REST!!! Feel better.:)

BTW, standing abwork works 10 gazillion times better than floor work because you reach more muscles.;)

05-17-2011, 09:30 AM
Once your back feels better you should look into hula hooping.. it works your abs, and it's fun.

For your pain I suggest you take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever (nurofen here in New Zealand), and depending on what kind of pain it is put a heating pad on it. If your muscle is overworked, tight, strained or tweaked slightly I find it helps soothe.

Is it more of a pressure pain, or radiating pain?

If your problem persists more than a week I would recommend seeing a physician, honestly.

05-17-2011, 03:22 PM
Without knowing your type of pain, it's hard to say why you're in pain. Yes, there are people who find crunches irritating to their back, but I never ran into any of them to be able to determine what their range of motion or surface they did them on was. It seems unlikely to me to hurt your spine doing crunches on a hard surface.

Having done crunches on a hard surface myself, I can tell you that the only pain was from the unforgiving surface and my bones poking through the skin and muscle - similar to a bruise- but not vertibra type pain.

Review your days prior to your pain and determine if there was any other work you did that might have strained your back or discs.

Once you figure out what type of pain, treat accordingly with pain relief as joyful mentioned.

I would also stop all exercise until the pain subsides and adjust your caloric intake to accomodate.

05-17-2011, 11:00 PM
I'm not sure what the cause is - another possibility might be that my running shoes aren't right? It feels sort of like muscle spasms in the lower back and is aggravated most by standing erect after prolonged sitting/lying down. Sitting in chairs is uncomfortable as well.

05-18-2011, 12:02 AM
Krampus, I had a pain like yours many, many months ago, and you know what caused it? Not my gym-going, certainly not Pilates. It was changing the sheets on my stupid bed in the morning. I bent over oddly while hefting up the corner of the heavy mattress. (I was just being an unthinking idiot. Yes, I know the correct way to pick up heavy things. I do it all the time. Particularly at the gym. Why I forgot a mattress was a heavy thing, I'll never know.) It took a few days to subside. I iced it, took Advil, and didn't do anything that meant bending or lifting, and it went away. All on its own. But I remember it now every time I'm making the bed or changing sheets.

I'm telling you this because it may have been the most ordinary thing that brought it on, something you wouldn't even have noticed much at the time.

05-18-2011, 12:59 AM
I'm telling you this because it may have been the most ordinary thing that brought it on, something you wouldn't even have noticed much at the time.

Hmm, you know it's funny you mention this... I will have to be more aware of how I personally do things... Especially mundane things I got into bad habits with (taking out heavy rubbish, flipping my mattress, bringing canned groceries from the store) the 'easier' way isn't the healthier way.

I feel like you should have a shooting star behind your head with "The More You Know" trailing it's tail.

05-18-2011, 12:25 PM
Saef, good advice to ice it.

LOL about doing mundane things and hurting ourselves. Why is it that I insist on carrying 3 full laundry baskets up the stairs instead of doing one or two more trips? I strain my back and knees every time.

05-18-2011, 12:37 PM
I had a muscle spasm in my lower back a couple of weeks ago and took a flexeril (muscle relaxer) and it was all better in the morning.
Mine was from doing dead lifts the day before.

As for crunches, I am currently reading a book by Jolie Bookspan and have heard through online forums about Stuart McGill , that say that you should not do crunches. Planks are much better for the spine.

As for relief for your current pain, one of the exercises in the Bookspan book for lower back pain is: lying on your stomach, raise up on your elbows and hold for a few seconds.

Hope you feel better soon :)

05-19-2011, 08:52 AM
Thanks everyone. It's still there so I am not running or doing high impact anything, as impact seems to aggravate it more than anything. I've been doing beginner level yoga videos in the mornings before work and I think all the stretching helps a little.

05-19-2011, 11:03 PM
Oh no krampus so sorry about this injury! About six months ago I rejected crunches altogether because of growing concerns about damage to my back. I realize yours may not have been caused by crunches, but a growing body of evidence suggests that other ab exercises are better for your abs and lower back health (specifically planks and pushups, which I know you do a lot of :). What really hit home for me is this reminder from this article (http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2009/06/03/stop-doing-sit-ups-why-crunches-don-t-work.html): "
Doing a sit-up doesn’t train your ab muscles to do the job for which they were designed – keeping your spine straight and secure and providing power for your movements. "

Do whatever makes most sense to you of course, but it couldn't hurt if you do have back pain- related to the crunch or not- to move away from crunches and situps and towards other exercises.

Ok totally off my soapbox now. Wish you a speedy recovery :)