What are the Most Common Back Sports Injuries?

Playing sports is a great way for anyone to get the exercise they need while doing something they love. But sports do not come without the risk of injury and back injuries are especially common. It is important for athletes to be aware of the common back injuries arising from sports so they know how to prevent them from happening and can identify them when they do.

Back sprains, particularly lumbar muscle sprains in the lower back, are very common sports injuries due to the moving, twisting, and bending athletes often do while playing their sport. These sprains occur when the muscles in the lower back become overly stretched or torn. Like ankle sprains, this type of back injury will typically heal on its own with proper treatment, such as rest, but sometimes the athlete may need further treatment.

Common symptoms of back sprains can include discomfort while standing or walking, pain when coughing or sneezing, inability to bend over to tie shoes, inability to get in and out of a car, and difficulty sitting.

Disc injuries in the back are not as common as lower lumbar injuries, but they do occur. The discs in the back act as shock-absorbers and help the back move. When one of these discs slips, becomes herniated, or ruptures, it can cause significant damage.

Pain associated with disc injuries is usually quite severe. This pain can radiate down the entire back and may even extend to the hip, thigh, leg, or foot if the sciatic nerve is damaged. In some cases, severe spasms are also a symptom of this type of back injury.

Upper back injuries are some of the least common back injuries associated with sports as this area of the spine has much more support than the lower back and it is largely immobile. However, when athletes need to rotate their torso when playing golf, tennis, skiing, or swimming, they may injure this area. When those injuries occur, they can include muscle strains or even rib fractures.

Symptoms of an upper back injury include severe pain, tightness, or stiffness. The pain from these injuries may even extend into the face. The area will likely be tender to the touch and the person may suffer from muscle spasms and headaches as well.

While sports are fun for many people, back injuries are not. And while static stretching was once recommended before an activity, it is now recommended athletes perform dynamic stretches before playing sports. These are stretches that require movement, and they help warm up and loosen up the joints and muscles before an athlete begins to play. Static stretches should still be done, but at the end of the game, as it will help release tension, increase circulation to tired muscles, and help prevent injury.

If you have received a serious back injury due to playing a sport you love, consider reaching out to a professional back pain doctor who can give you advice about your injury recovery today.