5 Questions To Ask When Returning To Sports After A Back Injury

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi


If you’re trying to get back on the court or the field after a spine injury, you’re probably wondering how to know if you’re healthy enough to return. Consulting with a spine specialist is your best bet, but there are also some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you’ve made enough of a recovery to get back on the field. Here are five questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to return to sports after a spine injury.

5 Self Assessments To Make After A Back Injury

Ask yourself these five questions after a spine injury, and you’ll be able to better understand if you’re ready to play sports again following a back injury.

  1. What’s Your Pain Level? – You might be able to tolerate a fair amount of pain, but you’re going to want to ensure your pain levels are nearly non-existent before you get back on the field. Sports require extreme physical exertion, which is going to increase your pain. If you’re still in a fair amount of pain while you’re not playing sports, it’s a sign that you’re not going to be able to tolerate the physical demands of sporting activity.
  2. What Caused Your Injury? – If you injured your spine during athletic activity, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious when returning to sport. Returning to the same activity that caused the injury in the first place means you’re at a heightened risk for aggravation, so give your body the benefit of the doubt and sit until you know athletic movements aren’t going to cause pain and discomfort.
  3. How’s Your Range of Motion? – Is your spine injury affecting your ability to fully twist your spine, or is it impacting the range of motion of your back, shoulders or arms? If your range of motion is impacted, you’re at an elevated risk for re-injury, or injury to another part of your body that has to compensate for your inability to move fluidly. Inhibited range of motion is a key indicator that you’re not quite ready to return to sports.
  4. Do You Feel Ready? – Ask yourself if you truly feel ready to return from a physical standpoint. Most athletes want to get back on the court as soon as possible because they are competitors who want to help their teammates, but returning injured isn’t going to help the team and it could lead to further injury. Ask yourself if you feel ready to return, or are you just returning because you want to help your teammates or people are pressuring you to get back on the field? Unless you personally feel ready, give it some more time.
  5. Does This Align With My Doctor’s Orders? – Finally, is your return date in line with the recovery guidelines given by your doctor. If your doctor said no physical activity for six weeks after surgery, and you’re trying to return to sports after four weeks, you could be jeopardizing your surgery. If you want to speed up your timeline, set up another appointment with your doctor so they can give you the green light.

For more tips on how to best return to sports after a back injury, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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