Hinge Movements: How can I overcome discomfort?

People in the middle of an exercise session

My question is regarding anything requiring hinge movements. I am a 58-year-old male with a left sacralization, 22-degree scoliosis, anterior pelvic tilt and raised left ilium. I find deadlifts, squats, RDLs, Back Attack machine, or anything else requiring me to stick my butt back to be extremely difficult as the weight goes up. That side begins to seize and then the QLs and lower back start getting hammered. My trainer continually points out that my form is degrading when it sets in, but I'm not sure that these compound moves are really in my best interest in the first place. What's a guy to do?

Disclaimer: Please note, this reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.

Things to Know

  • It is unadvisable to train through the discomfort.
  • With the presence of scoliosis, the system can be disrupted.
  • Consult a Physical Therapist for a formal evaluation.

Thank you for your question! 

Without doing an examination, we are not able to comment on your specific condition, however, we can offer you some general advice that is often helpful in similar situations to yours.  

Compound movements are an excellent way to stay fit. That said, it is important to maintain good form when practicing these movements to reduce injury risk. It is also typically unadvisable to train through the discomfort you are describing within your question.  

The natural curves of the spine work as shock absorbers and evenly distribute mechanical stress during movement. With the presence of scoliosis, this system can be disrupted, potentially distributing uneven stress or load across the spine, and creating muscle imbalances or lengthening on the convex side of the curve and tightening/shortening on the concave side. 

While many factors, such as form degradation, muscle imbalances, and/or scoliosis, could be contributing to the symptoms you have described, without performing a formal evaluation, it is hard to say for certain. 

Most people who experience low back pain with compound movements typically benefit from a core strengthening program and/or muscle imbalance correction

However, it is advisable to seek an evaluation from a physical therapist who can observe your lifting mechanics, assess for any muscle imbalances, and develop a program to help you achieve your goals. 

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