How To Keep A Back Injury From Ending Your Sports Season

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Sports Spinal Injury Myths

The snow has melted here in Minnesota, and that means many athletes will soon be headed outside for baseball, soccer, track and field and a host of other spring and summer sports. You’re probably itching to get outside and jump back into your favorite spring sport, but if you’re not careful, a spine injury could cut your season short. In today’s blog, we share some tips for reducing your risk of having your athletic season end earlier than you’d like because of a back injury.

Preventing Spine Injuries In Athletics

Injuries are never completely preventable, but if you are smart about how you approach the activity and you keep these tips in mind, we’re confident you’ll be able to greatly reduce the risk of a long-term back injury.

  • Slowly Increase Your Intensity – Don’t wait until the first day of tryouts of the first week of your pickup basketball season to get your body ready for the physical stress you’re going to throw at it. You should slowly increase your workout duration and intensity in the weeks leading up to your first team activities so that the first few days aren’t such a shock to your spine and body.
  • Warm Up – Before taking on any physical task, always take a couple of minutes to get your body loose and help your muscles transition from an inactive to an active state. 5-10 minutes of static and dynamic stretching can reduce your likelihood of straining a spinal muscle or damaging other structures in your back.
  • Proper Form – It’s also important to have proper form when you’re out on the field. If your throwing mechanics or tackling form isn’t ideal, stress will be abnormally channeled through different areas of your body. That can lead to an acute or repetitive strain injury if you’re not careful. Make sure you work on having the right form for your sport and in the weight room.
  • Don’t Ignore Small Issues – If you tweak a muscle in your spine, don’t try to play through the discomfort, because there’s a chance it will become much worse. It’s much better to miss a day or two of practice than to try to push through pain and end up suffering a season-ending injury. Make sure you and your teammates can recognize the difference between soreness and pain, and stop small problems before they snowball into larger issues by taking some time off if you’re injured.
  • Connect With A Specialist – Whether it’s with your team’s physical therapist, an athletic trainer or a spine specialist, know who your resources are for spine maintenance and injury prevention. Ask which stretches you can do to help your spine get ready for activity, or let them help you develop a strengthening program to help your back become stronger. Lean on these professional resources available to you!
  • Crosstrain – Finally, a smart idea to keep in mind during the season and in the offseason is to cross train. If you’re only playing one sport and always doing the same workout routine, some muscles like your biceps and calves can become overdeveloped while other areas crucial to your spine health (like your core muscles) can get overlooked. Do some cross training and some non-sport specific exercises to build different muscle groups and help them develop in a healthy balance.

If you need help overcoming a back injury, or you want to talk to a specialist about a back problem you’re dealing with, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today.

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