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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  SPORT INJURIES AND REHABILITATION 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 April;60(4):582-93

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.10201-0

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

A descriptive analysis of functional impairments and patho-anatomical findings in eight powerlifters

Ulrika AASA 1, 2, Lars BERGLUND 1, 2

1 Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umea University, Umeå, Sweden; 2 Umea School of Sport Sciences, Umea University, Umeå, Sweden



BACKGROUND: Low back pain (LBP) is a common pain problem in powerlifters. There is a lack of evidence to guide powerlifters and health-care professionals in understanding the role of powerlifting in the development of LBP and treatment of injuries in powerlifters. This study aimed to describe functional impairments and patho-anatomical findings in eight powerlifters with and without LBP.
METHODS: First, four powerlifters with LBP were recruited. Each powerlifter was then matched with a pain-free lifter (Control) by age, Body Mass Index and competition weight class. They all performed physical performance tests and were examined with magnetic resonance imaging. Four weeks prior to the examination the powerlifters also recorded training load. Powerlifters with LBP were also examined by a physiotherapist in order to define their pain and impairments.
RESULTS: The four male powerlifters with LBP had a nociceptive pain associated with non-ideal squatting technique, higher flexibility in their lumbar spine than in their hips and patho-anatomical findings such as degenerated discs (four), spondylolysis (one) and spinal stenosis (one). However, the controls also showed similar functional impairments and patho-anatomical findings.
CONCLUSIONS: Powerlifters with and without LBP show similar functional impairments and patho-anatomical findings. However, powerlifters’ LBP seems associated with pain during movement and loading of the lumbar spine. The association and causation between specific functional impairments, patho-anatomical findings and LBP in powerlifters has to be further investigated in studies including more participants.


KEY WORDS: Resistance training; Magnetic resonance imaging; Weight lifting; Musculoskeletal diseases

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