Sports Back Injuries

Unlike exercise routines such as Pilates, Tai Chi, and Yoga, high impact sports such as snow skiing, football, and hockey involve explosive movements and twisting of the trunk that adds a lot of stress to the back. Sports back injuries occur more often in these types of sports than those such as Tai Chi and other Eastern movement systems which involve gradual and graceful movements. High-impact sports are those that involve hard contact with the ground of playing surface from movements such as jumping and landing, and pushing off of the ground for explosive movements. Sports back injuries may occur from these high-impact sports as well as other sports that involve a lot of trunk rotation and repetitive movements.

High-Impact Sports: Snowmobiling, horseback riding, dirt bike riding, snow skiing, and water skiing are sports which put a lot of stress on the back. These sports put a lot of stress on the back because of the vibrations which travel up from the ground and the downward pressures that are exerted on the spine when the ground landings press the entire structure downwards. These sports have a jackhammer effect on the spine that is caused by the continuous jolting and vibration. These are also sports and recreational activities which involve falls which occur at high speeds. Some of these fall injuries may be highly traumatic to the spine, especially when one half of the body goes in one direction and the other half goes in another. These high-impact sports may either cause disc-related back problems or become uncomfortable to participate after these types of injuries do occur. People with disc-related back problems should probably avoid these types of activities, at least until they no longer present with any symptoms.



Recreational Sports: Recreational sports that involve repetitive movements, a lot of twisting, or arching the back are all associated with sports back injuries. Rotational sports such as racquetball, tennis, baseball, and golf all involving twisting motions which may add a lot of stress to the spine. In addition, these sports all involve a person needing to bend down to the ground often to pick up balls that are in play of have been dropped into a hole in the ground. If people don't use their knees more than their backs to bend down to pick up the ball, lower back strain may occur.

If you do participate often in rotational sports such as tennis and racquetball, there are a number of things that you may do in and away from the courts in order to reduce the symptoms of back pain. In sports such as tennis and volleyball, players often lob the ball up in their air and arch their back before they finally lunge forward to meet the ball. This arching of the back may lead to injuries. Tennis pros may teach you how to do a slice serve, which involves less arching than a kick serve.

The type of tennis racquet that you use may affect future injuries as well. A stiffer racquet with looser strings will allow you the ability to perform a shorter stroke with a lot of power behind it. When players use flexible racquets, they must perform longer strokes to generate the same amount of power. If you want to make powerful shots with shorter strokes, than you should take your racquet to a local tennis pro shop where they can make the necessary adjustments. Shorter tennis strokes will result in less trunk rotation, which will be easier on the spine.

One sport that is harder on the back than most others is racquetball. This sport involves repeated explosive rotational movements and bending over to get to the ball without it bouncing first. Doctors always want to get back patients going again, either through low impact activities such as swimming or back to their old lifestyles and activities. The one exception for doctors may be racquetball, in which the pressures are especially high on both the upper back and lower back. Doctors may recommend that people with a history of back problems retire this sport for good from their repertoire of athletic activities.

Some educational back centers, such as the Center for Spine in Savannah Georgia, teach people how to play their favorite sports better, without putting as much stress on their backs. This center has a team of physical therapists as well as sports pros available to teach people how to use their body more effectively - without putting as much stress on their sensitive joints.