What You Need to Know About Sports Related Back Pain

Sports provide a great way to stay physically and mentally fit. However, they can also pose a risk of various injuries. While there are ways to avoid injury, there is always a chance that a limb might be broken or a muscle will get pulled. In most cases, it is your spine that will get hurt. Fortunately, about 90% of acute spinal injuries heal on their own, but how can you tell when you need medical attention? Some information about the most common sports-related back ailments could help:

Lumbar Sprains

The lumbar, or lower back, can be strained with improper weightlifting technique. Usually, this will go away on their own, and the most you’ll need is something to keep the inflammation down.

Cervical Numbness

In football, the impacts from crashing headlong into other players could stretch or compress the nerve roots in the neck (known medically as the cervical area). This results in numbness or tingling in the shoulders, but it isn’t normally very serious. It should disappear in a few days at most. If it does not, then see a physician.

Pars Fractures

Sports that involve repeated extension movements, such as volleyball, diving, and gymnastics, can put stress on the bones in the spine. This repeated stress can crack certain bone structures, which is referred to as a pars fracture. This causes lower back pain, and is diagnosed by a doctor by CAT scans or x-ray. Generally, it is treated with a back brace and rest, but it may require other treatments if it is serious enough.

There are also a few general rules of thumb when dealing with back injury. Minor back injuries may not require medical attention, but if you see any of the following symptoms, then you need to go see a doctor:

  • Your pain gets worse instead of going away after a few days.
  • Pain extends to your legs or other parts of the body.
  • Pain leads to weakness, poor balance, and trouble walking.
  • You experience pain for more than two months.
  • You experience bowel or bladder changes.

It is also important to keep moving if you have a back injury. While rest may be necessary in some cases, you still need to keep your core strong. That way, it can give your back the support it needs. This is also good for preventing future back injuries. Proper stretching and warm-up, adequate sleep, maintaining proper body weight, and using correct form during exercise is also important to keeping your spine healthy.

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