Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
We help people dealing with spine injuries during all walks of life, but one of the most common patients that we see is the injured athlete. We know how important it is to return to the field to help your team following a back injury, but at the same time, you want to be smart about your approach so that your small injury doesn’t turn into a season ending problem. In today’s blog, we share some tips for preventing a season ending back injury.
Preventing Season Ending Spine Injuries
Nobody wants to have their sports season cut short as a result of injury, but that’s the unfortunate reality for thousands of athletes every year. And while not all back injuries are preventable, if you are mindful of your approach, you can reduce your likelihood of developing a season ending spine injury. Here are five tips to keep in mind:
- Strengthen Your Spine – If your spine is stronger, more stable and better equipped to handle the rigors of athletic competition, your risk of minor and major spine injury decreases. Work to strengthen your spine in season and during the offseason so that the strain it had to handle during activity doesn’t end up overloading your spine.
- Crosstrain – If you’re always doing the same workout or you’re playing the same sport year round, odds are certain muscle groups are going to become overdeveloped while others are going to be underdeveloped, and this difference in muscle strength can contribute to injury. Oftentimes back injuries can develop as a result of a weaker group of core muscles, as these muscles help to stabilize your spinal column. Switch up your workouts or do some crosstraining during the offseason to help develop different muscle groups evenly.
- Treat Small Problems – Arguably the best piece of advice that we can give is to take small back problems seriously. If you tweak a ligament in your back or you strain a muscle, don’t keep trying to play through the injury. Far too often we see instances where athletes tried to push through an injury, only to make the problem worse and force them out for an extended period of time. It is much better to miss a game or two than to play through an injury and suffer more damage and a season ending injury.
- Slowly Return To Athletics – If you’ve been sidelined for a bit because of your back injury, don’t expect to jump back into normal activities right away upon your return. Your back is likely still a little weak as a result of the injury, and odds are your conditioning has also taken a hit as a result of your time away from the sport. Gradually increase your intensity level and duration when returning to athletics to decrease your chances of suffering a setback.
- Connect With A Spine Specialist – Finally, if you really want to learn how to prevent back problems or completely treat an issue so that it doesn’t return, your best bet is to connect with a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. We can get to the bottom of your discomfort and set you up with an individualized treatment plan to help you fully resolve your injury and ensure you return to athletics in a safe manner.
For more tips on how you can work to prevent a season ending back injury, or for help treating a different type of spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.