Jock Doc

Lower back pain after workout can signal core problem

Q. I am 28 and like to work out three to four times a week. Over the last three months I have had pain in my lower back after I work out. The next morning my back is in even worse pain and it is stiff. During the day it gets better and by the next day I am able to work out again. I tried taking Ibuprofen and it did not do much. I have cut down on my weight training but I still feel the same. What is my next step?

A. The most common reason for lower back injuries while working out is overuse. You likely have a lower back paraspinal muscle strain or strain of your sacroiliac joint. This can be addressed by physical therapy aimed at modifying your workout program and working on core strengthening. Other causes of lower back pain can be disc problems, arthritis or a stress fracture. Some patients with lower back pain and morning stiffness can have a rheumatologic condition. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or spine specialist to establish an accurate cause for your symptoms. At that point, a safe effective program to get you back to training can likely be achieved.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to