Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Incorporating The Deadlift For Low Back Pain

March 6, 2021


Low back pain is a common human experience affecting up to 90% of individuals at some point in their lifetimes. It is one of the most common diagnoses treated in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice and the majority of patients find the greatest long term relief with regaining lost strength in their core and lower body musculature. One of the more common areas of weakness involve the muscles on the backside of the spine and legs commonly referred to as the posterior chain. These muscles are essential for postural support during sitting and standing, as well as, providing the muscle activity required during bending and lifting. The deadlift remains one of the most efficient and effective exercises for targeting these muscles. A recent review of the literature describes the impact of the deadlift exercise on patients with low back pain.

Fischer and colleagues reviewed the existing literature for incorporating this powerful exercise for patients with low back pain (J Sport Rehabil. 2021). The authors found a surprisingly low number of clinical studies given the deadlift’s common utilization in most Physical Therapist’s exercise prescriptions. They included 2 randomized controlled trials and one cohort trial. Despite the low number of studies available, authors found level B recommendations for the incorporation of deadlifts into the treatment of low back pain. The concluded deadlifts are a “clinically effective option for the treatment of low back pain for both pain scores and functional outcomes”.

Click here to learn which exercises are best for your low back pain