Exercise and sports are a symbol of well-being and good health. Apart from maintaining the health, they add a sense of pleasure to life.
Every sport is known to put some kind of stress on your spine, and can sometimes lead to sports injuries. That is why providing flexibility to your ligaments and keeping your spine muscles strong is very important. A healthy spine will ensure your fullest form as you exercise or play sports and prevent further spine injuries.
Athletes, however, have a rather increased chance to get a sports injury and develop issues such as low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and muscle pain among others.
How do different sports affect your spine?
Cycling may be known to strengthen the muscles of your legs but it doesn’t help much your spinal muscles. Neck and back muscles get strained when you arch your upper back for longer periods of time while bending your lower spine. As such, it can often lead to sports related injuries, such as neck injuries or back injuries, whether due to the intensity of the activity, or a sudden impact like a crash.
You can make this activity less stressing for your back if you ensure these steps:
- Use bikes that fit you properly size-wise and are comfortable
- Reduce jarring by wearing gloves and using a handlebar cover
- Stretch your flexor muscles to ensure proper balance in your spine and hips and improve your range of motion
The spine is often prone to becoming strained and developing spinal disorders due to weightlifting. Spondylolysis is a spinal issue that can cause a spinal stress fracture. Weightlifters are at higher risk for developing such condition in addition to hurting their muscles and ligaments. People who weightlift are also at an increased risk of lower back injury that leads to lower back pain due to the pressure that is placed on the lower back during exercises.
For injury prevention due to weightlifting, try these approaches:
- Warm up before doing any heavy lifting. Stretching and aerobics are ideal and can help with muscle strains.
- Training machines are safest and most effective option when it comes to workout, as compared to free weights.
- Repetitions are ideal for building strength. Do more reps instead of adding more weights.
Back Pain Prevention and Treatment at Home
The forceful rotation of a golf swing directly affects the spinal muscles, ligaments, joints, and disks, and can lead to sprains and strains of the back.
Some of the tips to reduce the stress off your back caused by golfing include:
- Working with a physical therapist can help in this case providing the best posture and technique for your swing.
- Warm up and stretch your back and upper legs muscles.
- Monitor your playing time and don’t over-exert yourself.
Running is a high-impact sport that tends to cause repeated compression on the back, and potentially lead to problems with the facet joints.
Some of the tips to reduce the physical stress caused by running include:
- Concrete and uneven surfaces should be avoided running on. Instead use a grassy track or soft surface land.
- Use shoes with proper cushioning. Replace them immediately once they get worn out.
Tennis can place people at higher risk of developing compression of the back. When a person arches while serving, and performing forceful twisting, these actions place great pressure on the lower back.
Ski on slopes that are within your comfort zone. Don’t forget to stretch and warm up before skiing. Ensuring that you have flexibility and strength in your back muscles can also be a great way to prevent injuries.
The spine also gets stressed by swimming. No doubt it strengthens your ligaments and muscles. But it also put pressure on the back by:
- Breaststroke or crawling is to blame in this regard. It keeps your lower back extended when you do stomach strokes. The lower back gets arched as a result.
- When you turn your neck for taking a breath.
Additional treatment options
Other approaches to manage, treat or prevent injuries if you participate in sports:
- Getting physical therapy to help improve spinal strength, mobility and posture
- Take anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily reduce the pain
Consult with a medical professional who specialises in sports medicine if you experience pain that persists or gets worse. In some cases, further investigations may be needed, depending on the type of injury as well as what causes it.
Sometimes, nerve roots can become trapped, especially in the lumbar spine, and treating them can be challenging at times. That’s why a thorough diagnosis is recommended to be carried out in this situation.
Author: Spinal Backrack