Stabbing Lower Right Back Pain

I’m 19 and a left handed pitcher and I have absolutely terrible lower right back pain near the lumbar. It started off as very acute amount of pain I got when playing long toss, but always felt great on the mound. It gradually got worse and worse and now after every single pitch I throw it feels like someone is stabbing a knife into my lower right back. I’ve tried heat, ice, stem and stretching out my lower back, and legs a ridiculous amount but that would only make it feel better for 30ish minutes. I’ve tried stretching out in-between every inning but that also didn’t work. I put on 20 pounds this off season, have gained around 5 miles per hour and am really hoping this isn’t going to be season ending. I’m really not interested in a medical red shirt or sitting out any games because I’m starting as a freshman and it’s a great opportunity for me. Obviously if needed i’m willing to sit out a few games, but would really prefer not to. Has anybody else felt this pain before and overcame it? I’m willing to try just about anything to try and make this feel better.

Does the pain ever radiate to the front or groin on the same side?

No. So far I’ve only felt it in my lower back. I thought it since my back hurt I would try to overcompensate with my arm and feel some arm pain but that’s not the case either. If you were thinking it might be a hip flexor, I’ve had one before and its a similar level of pain but I only feel it in my lower right back.

Since you describe the pain as “stabbing”, I think that warrants a trip to the doctor.

Yeah that’s definitely the safest option. I just know that if I have to miss a start or two that I will most likely lose my spot to an upperclassman, and it will be very hard to get back. We’re on a 5 day rotation and I pitched today so hopefully I can do something to make heal it enough for me to be able to throw at least 5 innings Sunday.

My son had a back problem as well. Lower back right side. But, his pain would radiate to the groin and a lower abdomen. A PT figured out he had a strained psoas muscle. It did lead to some hip issues and control issues while pitching. He was never diagnosed correctly while at school and it lead to him being cut (control issues).
All of that said you must go to the doctor. No team, start or whatever is worth possible back issues. Get it checked out.

Keep the long term big picture in mind.

What are your chances of pitching well in your current condition? It seems to me pitching in your current condition is a bigger risk in that if you don’t do well you’ll quickly convince your coach that you don’t deserve your spot in the rotation. Plus you risk making your current condition worse.

I would think having your coach thinking of you as a starter with an injury would be the better choice because being just a freshman means you’ve got potential.

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Thanks Roger and fearsomefour I know I should go to a doctor. I just don’t want to be told that I’m out for the season or a long period of time. But you guys are right, the only thing pitching with the injury will do is make it worse. Thanks for the advice, I definitely do need to keep the long term picture in mind and my start today with the pain was terrible anyways. I’ll call some chiropractors tomorrow and try to get an appointment ASAP.

Sorry to hear about your pain. I had a similar issue back in college during my sophomore season. Had to come out of my start pitching against the University of Illinois mid-batter because I couldn’t overcome the pain. I ended up red shirting the next day and coming back stronger and better than ever the next year.

Visit a doc. No matter the diagnosis, if you stay positive and never stop working hard, you will bounce back Better than ever. You really will.



I sent you a PM

Thanks. It hurts today to even walk. If I do need to red-shirt (honestly I have no idea if I will need to) I just hope I’m able to workout or do something to try and make myself better while injured. It will drive me nuts if I have to just sit around for a few months.

DON’T WAIT! Make that appointment with the doctor—preferably a sports-medicine specialist or an orthopedist, get X-rays and even an MRI, and find out just what the score is.

My trainer said it’s only a pinched nerve and recommended that I don’t go see a chiropractor. He is trying to open up the area to release the pinched nerve with these painful exercises that make it feel slightly better after.

Great news!

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Good news.
Pinched nerves can be tough to deal with.
Hang in there. I always got some relief from the chiropractor when Id throw my back and have a pinched nerve. But it was the strengthening, exercises and stretches got rid of them long term.

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Sent you another PM with a referral.

Other than a medical issue, I have some observations:
This may seem like an oversimplification - but, the mattress that you sleep on, does it give you the kind of support that allows you a good night sleep? A poor mattress can flex the spin, especially at the base, or lumbar, and pinch nerves and flex muscles.

Before all this came about, were you trying to change your pitching movement, alter your delivery posture, or copy some pitcher’s style?

By not properly preparing your body for the practice and field performance, especially in cold weather, can have far reaching problems with the lower back.

After a workout, especially in cold weather, not hitting a hot shower and relaxing those tense muscles in the back and lumbar area and result in stiffness and discomfort that can build.

And finally, coming off the off-season takes time, gradual exposure to movement and stress load demands on the entire body. Doing long toss by bending back and launching toss after toss, without gradually working into it can produce the symptoms that you describe.

I think my mattress is fine. It’s relatively new and I’ve never had any problems with it before. I’m guessing it had something to do with me trying to get more shoulder/hip separation. At the moment I don’t really get much at all, and have really been working hard on it with no success. Maybe I’ve been trying too hard and I tweaked my back? I don’t really know. Before a game I usually run a few poles and really stretch out my legs. After that I do my J-band routine so I’d say i’m usually pretty warmed up by the time I’m throwing. It also could of possibly had something to do with loss of flexibility in my legs. This off season I put on a lot of weight without really doing much research and I feel like I lost a good amount of flexibility. I should have definitely been stretching after my workouts.

I know this is difficult, especially for those that are high school age, but, try and get a hot shower as soon as possible after your practice and games. Then ask you mom or dad to give you a rub with liniment - Absorbine Jr. is a good one, especially on the shoulders, back and the lumbar region. Just be sure to test any liniment rub on a small area of the forearm, just to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction to it.
note: never put liniment on your underarm (arm pits).

When you have a practice or game on the weekends or when your not in school, make an effort to get a hot shower and a rub with liniment prior to a active session. It makes all the difference in the world when you’re out there.

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Massage is a very underrated part of recovery. Doesn’t have to be a professional massage, but, using a foam roller, a lacrosse ball to get to sore or tight areas or a good ol rub down can work wonders.
As always, good advice Coach B.