Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and sports are one approach many people choose to get their exercise. For people with back pain, sports can still be a viable option if they pay attention to their back. For others, knowing the type of strain sports place on the back may help prevent a back injury. This article gives specific information about sports injuries and back pain from bicycling, weight lifting, running, swimming, skiing, golf and tennis.
Up to 20% of all injuries that occur in sports involve the lower back or neck. Sports that use repetitive impact (e.g., running) or weight loading at the end of a range-of-motion (e.g., weightlifting) commonly cause damage to the lumbar spine (lower back). Sports that involve contact (e.g., football) place the cervical spine (neck) at risk of injury. The thoracic spine (mid portion of the spine at the level of the rib cage) is less likely to be injured in sports because it is relatively immobile due to the rib cage.
Stretching Exercises can Help Prevent Sports Related Back Injuries
For every sport, a thorough warm-up should be completed before starting to play. The warm-up will be specific to the muscles used in that sport, but it should also prepare the back for the stresses to come.
- Increase circulation gradually by doing some easy movement (such as walking) to increase blood circulation to the muscles and ligaments of the back
- Stretch the lower and upper back and related muscles, including hamstrings and quadriceps
- Start slowly with the sport movements (e.g. swing the golf club, serve the ball)
Work with a Professional to Prevent Sports Injury and Back Pain
There are professionals or instructors in almost every sport who are willing to share their expertise. They can teach you proper form for a new sport or help you develop and keep the proper technique for a sport you already know.
Source: www.spine-health.com; Thomas E. Hyde, DC; July 20, 2000