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  1. #1
    Registered User Skarnyvors's Avatar
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    Deadlifts, lower back pain, lack of vision

    Hi,

    I was at the gym, doing deadlifts, with a weight that I have used before,
    I felt a sudden strong pain in my lower back... funny thing, just after I asked an advanced lifter if my form was ok.
    I sat down and my vision started to get darker. And darker. Until the point I could barely see anything, just some shapes. My girlfriend came because she saw me, she said my face was completely livid and pale, a trainer from the gym brought me a protein bar. After I while my vision got better. Also, I couldn't hear the people around me.

    I used some NSAID cream named Diclofenac and some menthol cream, I will rest these days, my gf insists on getting an MRI, someone told me it was due to low sugar, someone told it this can happen during deadllifts and it is because there is too much deoxygenated blood in my brain or something like that.

    I will go to a doctor, I will get an MRI. Anything else?

    I slept OK, I didn't use a strong PW, just a 200 mg caffeine pill.

    Any advice?
    Did someone have similar experiences?
    Should I get some specific blood work?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    You're describing a vasovagal event, very common and generally not worrisome. Particularly with deadlifts you tense up most of your body and likely engage in the Valsalva maneuver to a significant degree. This puts a lot of excess resistance on the venous bloodflow return to the heart. As a result, less blood is pumped out of your heart to your brain. Once you are done with the deadlifts and all the pressure releases and you are standing, the blood then can pool in your lower extremities, making it take longer for the blood to reach your brain. Vasovagal events happen with other things, such as sudden noxious stimuli (ie, a scary event, an intense pain (which you experienced)). So you have the pain stimulus and you were deadlifting where this type of thing is more common.

    1. Eating a protein bar in that situation will not be helpful.
    2. It has nothing to do with blood sugar.
    3. NSAID creams and other creams will not help.
    4. You do not need an MRI for this at all.
    5. You do not need blood work.

    If you still have back pain that is worth discussing and describing more.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Skarnyvors's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    You're describing a vasovagal event, very common and generally not worrisome. Particularly with deadlifts you tense up most of your body and likely engage in the Valsalva maneuver to a significant degree. This puts a lot of excess resistance on the venous bloodflow return to the heart. As a result, less blood is pumped out of your heart to your brain. Once you are done with the deadlifts and all the pressure releases and you are standing, the blood then can pool in your lower extremities, making it take longer for the blood to reach your brain. Vasovagal events happen with other things, such as sudden noxious stimuli (ie, a scary event, an intense pain (which you experienced)). So you have the pain stimulus and you were deadlifting where this type of thing is more common.

    1. Eating a protein bar in that situation will not be helpful.
    2. It has nothing to do with blood sugar.
    3. NSAID creams and other creams will not help.
    4. You do not need an MRI for this at all.
    5. You do not need blood work.

    If you still have back pain that is worth discussing and describing more.
    Thank you,

    I still have the back pain. I can walk, I can slightly bend, but I feel the pain constantly, when I stand, when I sit, when I lie down - not very, very strong, it is manageable, but annoying and painful.
    The pain is in a very low position, between glutes and back, right in the middle.

    I thought NSAIDs will reduce the inflammation.


    So just rest?
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skarnyvors View Post
    Thank you,

    I still have the back pain. I can walk, I can slightly bend, but I feel the pain constantly, when I stand, when I sit, when I lie down - not very, very strong, it is manageable, but annoying and painful.
    The pain is in a very low position, between glutes and back, right in the middle.

    I thought NSAIDs will reduce the inflammation.


    So just rest?
    You can definitely use NSAIDs for the inflammation, but oral would be the way to go, and use them regularly as that is what provides an anti-inflammatory benefit.

    Otherwise rest for a couple of days and then start working on range of motion.
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    Registered User Skarnyvors's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    You can definitely use NSAIDs for the inflammation, but oral would be the way to go, and use them regularly as that is what provides an anti-inflammatory benefit.

    Otherwise rest for a couple of days and then start working on range of motion.
    Thank you again,

    I bought ibuprofen pills.
    I cannot bend at all, I can only slow walk.
    I used some capsaicin & menthol patches, it warms up the place.
    I don't know If I should use ice.
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    πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸͺ³ snailsrus's Avatar
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    You might want to carry ammonia snaps….. in case you pass out/are about to pass out.

    If you lose your vision, sit down and put your head between your legs. Stay close to the ground in case you fall over or faint.

    Did your hands also lock up? You sounded like you were having Vasovagal Syncope as noted above. I have gotten it from really bad injuries where I see a lot of my own blood
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  7. #7
    Registered User Skarnyvors's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    You might want to carry ammonia snaps….. in case you pass out/are about to pass out.

    If you lose your vision, sit down and put your head between your legs. Stay close to the ground in case you fall over or faint.

    Did your hands also lock up? You sounded like you were having Vasovagal Syncope as noted above. I have gotten it from really bad injuries where I see a lot of my own blood
    I know about ammonia snaps, difficult to find there in my country. I know that powerlifters used them before a lift to boost their energy.

    Thanks for the advice. I will read more about Vasovagal Syncope.


    I don't remember if my hands were locked up. I had a similar experience in the past, but not as strong. In the subway, a kickboxer told me a story about someone who broke his arm during training and how his bone was sticking out. And my vision got foggy and darker. I sat down on a chair, and after a few minutes I got better. This is strange, because I've seen many fights on the internet and many broken bones unfortunately and I never had a problem seeing them.

    Now, after I felt the pain in my back, I got upset and then I started to have the lack of vision. I sat down in the leg extension chair hoping to get better but my vision got darker and darker until I could only see shapes. And I made the stupid mistake to get up to open the window near me. I couldn't see it, but I knew where it is. I opened it, I thought cold air will do me good. Next thing I remember 5 people surrounding me, one insisting to put me on the ground, other one to take a bite of a protein bar, other one to drink water.
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    πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸͺ³ snailsrus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skarnyvors View Post
    I know about ammonia snaps, difficult to find there in my country. I know that powerlifters used them before a lift to boost their energy.

    Thanks for the advice. I will read more about Vasovagal Syncope.


    I don't remember if my hands were locked up. I had a similar experience in the past, but not as strong. In the subway, a kickboxer told me a story about someone who broke his arm during training and how his bone was sticking out. And my vision got foggy and darker. I sat down on a chair, and after a few minutes I got better. This is strange, because I've seen many fights on the internet and many broken bones unfortunately and I never had a problem seeing them.

    Now, after I felt the pain in my back, I got upset and then I started to have the lack of vision. I sat down in the leg extension chair hoping to get better but my vision got darker and darker until I could only see shapes. And I made the stupid mistake to get up to open the window near me. I couldn't see it, but I knew where it is. I opened it, I thought cold air will do me good. Next thing I remember 5 people surrounding me, one insisting to put me on the ground, other one to take a bite of a protein bar, other one to drink water.
    the best thing you can really do is breath, not panic and put your head between your legs. Are you in aussieland?
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  9. #9
    Registered User Skarnyvors's Avatar
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    My lower back is getting better each day, but slowly and I still have some minor pain, especially on the left side. My range of motion is still bad, I cannot bend much. I will get an MRI in the end, most people adviced me to do it.

    Thanks for the answers.


    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    the best thing you can really do is breath, not panic and put your head between your legs. Are you in aussieland?
    Nope, Europe.


    Thanks for the answers.
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