According to statistics, 80 percent of people suffer from back pain. The primary reason individuals suffer from back pain is due to their lifestyle including the sports they play. If your back was severely injured from playing sports, this can lead to either acute or chronic back injuries. Athletes have significant risks of having lower or lumbar spine injuries because of the sports that they play.
Various sports cause back pain, like cycling, basketball, weightlifting, football, soccer, tennis, golf, and others. These sports put a lot of stress onto your back and the spine absorbs too much pressure from turning, twisting, and bodily impact. Sports activities that put a strain on your back causes back pain or, worse, injury. Even the finest and healthiest athletes suffer from this condition. Unfortunately, once you let it slide and ignore your back pain, it can cause even worse damage. Studies show that five to ten percent of athletic injuries cause pain to the lumbar spine. Some of these cases are the product of minor injuries that did not properly heal, resulting in microtraumas.
Low back pain can be cured without disrupting your entire life. However, most athletes are reluctant to get medical attention. Athletes often deny any pain that they feel and resort to positive thinking to avoid operations. Athletes usually fear any decrease in their sports activities when they focus on the recovery process. There is the possibility of losing their position in the team, or losing their individual standing. There is also the fear of missing competitions, or letting the team down. Some athletes also believe that they might lose their value to the team. They do not want to cause any trouble in visiting a doctor, or they indulge in the false belief that their injuries will heal on their own.
In this case, most of the athletes, either a starter or a professional athlete, hold on to their strength, taking pain medication. However, it is vital to note that avoiding medical help will only worsen any injuries. Ignoring medical attention will lead to further damage that may cause an athlete to never again play any sports activities.
Your active and energetic body is worth preserving. The good news is, most back pain cases can be treated using conservative means. It would be best if you first seek medical advice for the best results.
Sports That Can Trigger Your Back Pain
Almost all sports activities can cause back pain. If office workers who sit around all day can have back pain, then strenuous exercise and sports can also cause injuries. Most sports injuries are due to bad posture, overstressed muscles, or over extending reach. Back pain is not an exception and it is one of the most common injuries you can get from sports.
Biking. It is one of the most popular aerobic sports, and athletes usually resort to it when it comes to back pain conditions. It can be a good option when you want to lessen the pressure on your spine. It is also advisable because it provides comfort by just having a forward-leaning position. If you are suffering from back pain, you can use a reclining bike to ease back pain.
However, too much biking can also result in back pain. Biking can strain your lower back because of the bad posture that pulls or flexes on your lumbar spine. When your bicycle is equipped with aerodynamic bars, it can put pressure on your lower back and neck. Leaning forward on the handlebar compresses your spine and leads to annoying back pain.
There are ways to prevent back pain. It all starts with choosing a suitable bicycle to ride. Adjust it in a way that your spine and neck are not suffering from extreme pressure. Make sure that it perfectly fits your body. Getting shock absorber accessories are also advisable. Be knowledgeable enough, and take proper care of your body.
Golf. If you are looking for a sport that significantly helps you in aerobics, golf can be part of your choice. It helps you regulate your blood circulation, which keeps you maintaining proper posture. However, the repeated twisting and shifting can result in a bad back.
Golf requires the player to have a full swing. If you miscalculated, it would result in the spine’s rotation, which often leads to an injury. Your muscles are also strained as you swing. Carrying your golf bag or equipment can also lead to imbalance, which only puts pressure on a specific part of your body.
You can still prevent back pain from happening; all you need to do is warm up properly and not push yourself too hard in just one swing. It is essential to use both your mind and body in every swing. Understand your surroundings and create your tactics. Having a rhythmic yet consistent swing will allow you to have great play.
What are the Common Causes of Back Pain in Athletes
Low back pain and its causes varies from person to person. The following will are some of the primary causes of back pain in athletes.
Musculoligamentous Strain. In layman’s terms, it is referred to as a back strain. It commonly refers to your soft tissues injuries in your lumbar spine; Your soft tissues are widely known as your ligaments, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and tendons that circles your spine. Back strain is the most common sports injury that athletes experience. To treat musculoligamentous pressure, you must know the causes of the pain and how it starts. Exclusions treat the injuries and back strain is self-limiting. The good news is the pain does not spread or get worse and often heals in time. The healing takes place without any specific treatment. It is essential to understand that treatment comes with proper education and prevention practices for the future. Take note that before you do your usual sports regime, you need to have proper warm-up exercises and reflective changes in your activity should be followed.
Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis. Currently, there is no exact cause of spondylolysis. Doctors believe that bone defects are the product of weak genes and repeated stress in your spine caused by physical activities. Youngsters and young adults are the primary victims of spondylolysis. It usually appears because of excessive pressure in the spine that results in stress fractures.
Spondylolysis is mostly seen in athletes and is caused by the hyperextension of the lumbar spine. The most vulnerable are those engaged in football, gymnastics, and pole-vaulting. You can also include weightlifters because of the pressure and stress that the added weights can cause the spine.
To treat and effectively reduce the pain, stretching, or strengthening exercises is a necessity. You also need to engage in anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the pain. If the specialists identify a fracture caused by your sports activities, wearing a brace for a few months is necessary. You should also undergo treatment if the pain does not subdue, or you may need to undergo surgery.
Most of the cases do not cause any nerve problems or are merely non-symptomatic. But, once your vertebrae slips, it can press against your spinal canal – this causes a disturbance in your spine. It will create less room for your nerve roots, which causes you extreme pain. It dramatically affects your buttocks, lower back, leg, and you will feel numbness in your feet.
Herniated Nucleus Pulposus (HNP). Athletes are prone to stress because of excessive weights carried by during sports activities. HNP damages the intervertebral disc of your body. An intervertebral disc is flat and round and serves as a shock absorber in your spine and vertebrae. You have one disc in between your vertebrae. Every disc is embedded with strong outer fiber rings, often called the annulus. The jelly-like, soft center is known as the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus is soft due to the water content in the tissue, and serves as the shock absorber. It serves as a waterbed-like soft pad that helps your body absorb most of the shock waves going through the body.
However, once you let it slide, disc degeneration can cause severe problems in your spine. Your spine plays an essential role in your body; without it, you will lose your ability to support your entire body. If you are an athlete, the pressure that bears down on the spine and lower back is greater than the average person. Once you engage in repeated stress and minor injuries, it will significantly affect your spine and directly impact your daily activity.
A herniated disc happens when there is tremendous pressure exerted on the outer fiber of the spine, resulting in rips and nucleus fractures of the spinal disks.. If it rips in your spinal canal, you will experience significant pressure in your nerve roots and spinal canal. If it bulges, it may result in irritation on you spine and back pain from your back down to your legs.
You will feel irritation, numbness, changes in your reflexes as well as tingling in your legs and arms once you experience compression in your nerves. Once the discs rupture, it inflames and irritates the nerve root. It usually leads to extreme pain and discomfort.
You can treat herniated discs without suffering from surgery. It would be best if you consult a skilled chiropractor. They specialize in treating any injury or back pain.
Other causes. Athletes can also suffer from back pain because of growth-related problems like Scheuermann’s kyphosis and scoliosis. These are not directly related to athletic activities, but they generally affect your ability as an athlete to perform to the best of your abilities.
Treating Back Pain in Athletes
Athletes are not immune to any disease just because they are physically active. That is why to treat your back pain, and your health care provider will first evaluate the problem. They will gather information about your history and current situation. It is undeniable that most athletes tend to suffer from some degree of pain. Since they are used in dealing with the pain, athletes cannot assess their situation or the severity of the pain that they are experiencing. That is why direct and thorough examination and evaluation are needed.
Before getting all the work done, your physician will need to know the following:
- Your age when you started playing sports;
- Type of sport that you are into and your level in competition;
- All your medical records;
- Location of the pain that you are suffering and its movement;
- When did your pain started and its connection to your previous trauma;
- What relieves the pain as well as the causes of it; and
- Your medication or drugs that you are taking.
What is a Physical Exam
If you are not sure about your condition, undergoing a physical examination is necessary. The first thing that your health care provider will do is to examine your entire spine. They will look for signs like unusual curves in your spine, a tilted pelvis, a ribbed bump, or a tilting of shoulders. The health care providers will also examine your muscle strength, the sensation of your movements, your reflexes, and your ability to perform your activities accurately.
What are the Treatments
Treating the back pain of athletes is mostly done conservatively. You can do non-surgical methods, including anti-inflammatory medication, techniques, exercise, and physical therapy. Exercise plays a vital role in strengthening your paraspinal, abdominal, and pelvic musculature. Once you program and make your muscles in these areas stronger, it can reduce the pressure you are experiencing and minimize the possibility of having any back pain or injuries. A chiropractor can help you deal with the problem. They can serve as your therapist and help you maintain your physical composure, and bring back the normal function of your nerves, discs, and muscles. Chiropractors evaluate your progress and then adjust your daily routine that suits your body needs.