Tennis might be a leisurely sport for some people and a profession for others. A lot of movement of the wrist, back and legs is required in tennis. Sports injuries of the wrist, shoulders, hips, lower and upper back, as well as tennis elbow are common in this sport. If you already have back pain, the pain might get worse if left unaddressed.
How Does Pain Build Up While Playing Tennis?
Low back pain in tennis players occurs due to many causes. Some of these include abnormalities of the spine, improper posture, weak muscles, overuse of the back, as well as muscle dysfunction or imbalance.
- When players are executing front shots and backhand shots, trunk rotation is required. This could possibly twist the spine.
- When making a tennis serve, the lower back is extended, and this can cause compression of one or more of the lumbar discs.
- In tennis, the joints present in the spine can become stressed. During some movements, muscles, and ligaments around the spine also come under stress.
- There are a lot of lateral and stop motions involved in tennis and this damages the back muscles because they support these movements.
How It Feels When the Pain Triggers
If you have a muscle injury on the tennis court, you will feel it immediately. Pain due to tennis tends to be sharp and persistent. Sometimes, the pain is on one side while in other cases, it occurs on both sides. As you move, the pain will get worse. Prolonged movement or sitting can also worsen this pain. After some time, the pain may travel to the buttocks and thighs too.
Tips to Prevent Back Pain from Tennis
Choose a good racket that is suitable for you. To choose the racket for tennis, get in touch with a professional who can help you in finding the right equipment. When you play with a flexible racket, more trunk rotation is needed, and this causes stress on the spine. This is why you should invest in a stiff tennis racket so that there is less stress placed on your back. Racket size also matters, according to the hand size. Using a bigger or smaller racket puts stress on the elbows, which travels to the back.
Another way to save your spine from injury and discomfort is by playing on a softer surface such as a clay court. In most tennis courts, they have Har-Tru, which is a sand-like surface. The tennis balls move slower on this court and players do not have to make any sudden movements.
Also make sure that before playing tennis you warm up properly. Perform stretching exercises so that there are lesser chances of your muscles coming under strain.
- There is more back arch in a kick serve and that could lead to back pain. Instead of using this, go for slice serve.
- In this serve, the racket hits the ball from side and not from above. This keeps your spine straight and reduces the chance of injury.
- Learn the proper form from a professional. If you bend the knees properly, you will not suffer from back pain.
Playing in proper form will help in reducing the chance of back injuries, tension, stress, and muscle or ligament pulling.
Additionally, invest in a good pair of shoes that allow for your feet to be comfortable and absorb some of the shock from impact as you play.
You can also take measures before and after the sports session by ensuring that your spine is relaxed and decompressed. You can decompress your spine with the help of a special device called the Backrack, that can help improve your spinal range of motion and reduce the occurrence of pain.