Will lifting weights hurt my back?: Weightlifting and its effect on the spine

20 September 2019Chiropractic

Will lifting weights hurt my back?: Weightlifting and its Effect on the Spine

A question the physical therapists and chiropractors at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic frequently hear from patients across Kansas City is, “Will lifting weights hurt my back?”

The short answer is: if done properly, no! Weight lifting is an amazing activity for the body that should not be avoided out of fear of spine injury. 

Keep reading to learn more about weightlifting and its effect on the spine from the experts at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic.

How does weightlifting affect my spine?

person squatting and weight lifting to help strengthen back and decrease risk of spine injury in kansas city

Many people with an old school mindset will tell you that weightlifting will destroy your spine.

When done properly (good form, good coach/trainer), weightlifting can help stabilize your core, which in turn will help stabilize the spine. Weightlifting can only be deemed bad for the spine if you perform various weightlifting movements (squat, deadlift, snatch, etc.) with poor form.

What about squatting?

weightlifting and its effects on the spine - kansas city muscle and joint experts at F.I.T.

One lift that typically gets a bad rap is the squat. The squat is one of the best and most functional exercises we can do for our bodies. It is a movement that everyone should be able to perform, from the 12th month of development up to your current age and beyond. 

But due to poor posture, and the fact that most individuals live very sedentary lifestyles, we can quickly lose the ability to perform a simple squat. This movement will commonly come into play when an individual begins a weightlifting program. Poor posture and mobility contribute to a rounded low-back position in the descent of the squat, called lumbar flexion.  

Repeated lumbar flexion, coupled with a load (traditional back squat with weight, or a deadlift, for example) is the most common cause of disc herniation/prolapse according to the leading low back expert Stuart McGill. 

Working with a good coach/trainer, working on hip mobility, and being smart when training (e.g. not “ego lifting” and putting more weight on than you can handle) helps to avoid this injury.  

Overall, with good technique/form, good coaching, and mobility, these weight lifting movements can be safely performed with minimal risk of injuring the spine.  

Count on F.I.T. to relieve your lower back pain

The entire F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic team is passionate about helping patients find freedom from pain. 


Contact us today to schedule a consultation!