Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 1, 2022
Pickleball has been around for a while now, but it’s recently exploded in popularity, especially among an older audience. The sport is a cross between tennis and badminton, and it requires coordination, flexibility and quick reactions, so you can see why healthcare providers are so excited that more people are turning to pickleball for regular exercise and activity.
However, because the sport also requires you to bend and twist pretty frequently at the spine, it can also lead to back discomfort if you’re not careful. We don’t want you to shy away from pickleball if you have back pain or you fear that you may aggravate a previous spinal issue, so we want to share some tips for protecting your spine if you want to take up the sport or keep playing it as you get older. Below, we discuss avoiding back pain when you’re on the pickleball court.
Avoiding Spine Pain While Playing Pickleball
Don’t let a back injury keep you away from the pickleball court! If you want to keep playing the sport for years to come, keep these back pain prevention tips in mind.
- Focus On Your Front – If you want to have a healthy back, you need to pay special attention to your front. Your core muscles will play a crucial role in stabilizing your spinal column during athletic activity, so if you have a weak core, your spine may not be able to handle all the stress you throw at it. When you’re not on the pickleball court, do some exercises that work to improve your core, and you’ll be reducing your risk of back pain when you’re playing.
- Stretch – Stretching is smart before any activity, but it’s especially helpful if you’re trying to ward off back injuries during pickleball. As we mentioned in the introduction, you’ll be bending, twisting and torqueing your spine, so you can help your spinal muscles prepare for this stress by stretching and transitioning from an inactive state to an active state. Stretch your arms, shoulders, back and legs so that your whole body is ready for the movements to come.
- Bend At The Knees – Pickleball oftentimes involves bending down to hit a ball that has recently bounced off the court, so you’ll want to be smart about how you get into this position. Instead of bending at the spine and putting a lot of stress on your lower back, bend with your knees to get into an appropriate position. This will help to keep additional pressure off your spine.
- Weight Loss – The more you weigh, the more stress your spine and joints will have to disperse when you’re running, jumping and moving around. Pickleball can help you lose weight, and losing weight can actually reduce your risk of back injuries when you’re playing pickleball. Pair your activity with a healthy diet, and you may find that you’re losing weight and improving the health of your spine.
- Take It Slow – Hopefully you find pickleball so much fun that you want to do it again, but be careful about taking on too much activity in too short of a period of time. If you overwork muscle groups that are just getting used to the new activity, it can lead to sprains, strains and tears, and that can keep you away from the activity for an extended period of time. Play a little, see how your back and body responds, then slowly take on more activity once you’re confident that your body can handle the increased strain.
- Stop Small Spine Problems – Finally, if you are dealing with spinal discomfort or outright pain, treat them with some conservative methods or connect with a spine specialist. If you try to ignore the pain and keep going forward like nothing is wrong, odds are your pain will continue, and it might even get worse. Instead, be proactive about treating any new issues so that you can put them behind you once and for all.
If you’re dealing with spinal discomfort during pickleball or you just want to talk to someone about a new back issue you’re dealing with, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at the Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.