Your Lower Back Popped While Squatting – Are You Screwed?

Weightlifting is a very rewarding activity as it makes you bigger and more confident in yourself. However, weightlifting can also be very dangerous, especially if you do not pay attention to the proper form or …

Weightlifting is a very rewarding activity as it makes you bigger and more confident in yourself. However, weightlifting can also be very dangerous, especially if you do not pay attention to the proper form or take adequate safety precautions. As a result, it is easy to panic when something seemingly irregular happens while you are weightlifting. This article will discuss your lower back popping while squatting and its possible effects on you and your weightlifting lifestyle. 

What does it mean to pop your lower back?

Popping your back has different usages, and it may lead to a bit of confusion. As a result, for this article, popping your lower back means simply hearing a popping sound from your lower back while squatting or doing any other potentially challenging activity. 

Are you screwed if you hear a pop while squatting?

Well, your fate after hearing a popping sound from your lower back while squatting depends on what caused the pop and, as an extension, its kind of pop. There are several reasons you may hear a popping sound from your lower back while squatting and how you feel after the sound largely depends on what caused the pop. Here are some reasons for a popping sound while squatting and its potential effect.

Twisting or pulling a lower back muscle

The popping sound you hear while squatting may be because you have just pulled a muscle in your lower back. While this may sound a bit serious, it does not mean you are screwed. Nevertheless, you know that this is the reason for the pop if the following happens shortly after; you notice a restriction of your movement and loss of function, it becomes difficult for you to walk, bend, or squat, your muscles start to cramp or spasm, there is swelling and bruising in the region, and you feel sudden pain in the region.

When you hear the pop, what usually happens is that you may have overstretched or torn your ligaments. This can result in a sprain, that is, a tear in a tendon that attaches your back muscles to your spinal column or a tear in the muscle itself.

While you are not necessarily screwed when this pop happens, you still need to take some care to ensure it does not get worse. Immediately you hear the pop and gather that this is the reason you should stop your weightlifting. However, this does not mean you should completely stop moving. Less intensive movements can help you accelerate the healing process. 

After this, apply ice packs to the affected area before switching to a heat pack after a few days of ice pack treatment. You can also take pain meds like aspirin or ibuprofen to help you with the pain. Some exercises can also help you accelerate the healing process faster, including back extensions, bottom-to-heel stretches, or pelvic tilts. 

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), you should recover from your back pop in two weeks to a month. In this period, you should gradually return to weightlifting, starting with lighter weights or machines before moving back to heavy weights.

💡 Quick Tip: A benefit you enjoy from using machines for your exercises is that they guide your movement and help you recover from illnesses and body pain, as they do not stress you as much as free weights. As a result, I recommend the Omni Rack Builder for your safe weightlifting needs.

Joint and tissue movement

As I said earlier, your fate really depends on what caused the pop, and in this case, the pop is usually nothing to worry about. A popping sound in your lower back may also simply result from joint and tissue movement. Sounds commonly happen as your joints move around or when your other soft tissue structures glide against one another or over a joint. 

Gas release

This is another harmless gas pop you have nothing to worry about. Many experts have argued that popping sounds, including in the lower back, can result from releasing nitrogen and other gas bubbles trapped in your synovial fluid. Your synovial fluid reduces friction between your bones, as this friction can result in bone degeneration, medically known as arthritis.

Safety tips to follow when squatting 

Here are some tips you can follow to ensure your safety when squatting:

Use a squat rack

Squat racks are one way to increase your squats' safety exponentially. Squat racks originally offered spotting and general support while performing barbell exercises such as squats and presses. The squat racks’ uprights have a wide variety of holes that enable you to modify the barbell and hook’s height to your choice.

💡 Quick Tip: The Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack may be your best chance at a comfortable squatting experience, especially if you prefer to gym from home.

Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack

As a result, lifting more safely is possible, and you do not have to worry about injuring yourself or dropping a loaded barbell as you try to free yourself of the weight during a failed rep. You can also easily and quickly drop the barbell as soon as you hear the popping sound.

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Use a trap bar if you can

Trap bars are very easy on your back as you stand inside them to do your lifts, pulling them with both hands. Because you stand inside the hexagonal structure, the weight is distributed around your body rather than on your back, reducing the chances of a back injury. Nevertheless, you can incorporate the Powerlifting lever belt into your workout outfit to keep your stomach and back more solid and robust when deadlifting.

Try machines out

Machines are generally safer than free weights for your workouts for several reasons. The primary reasons are that they help you with several aspects of the lift, including balance and proper form. Try the Leverage squat machine to help you develop your legs without worrying about your balance and posture.