Sports injuries are a hassle and a pain, but they can be prevented and treated successfully. Back pain and injuries are, unfortunately, common among sports players. This can include the spine itself, soft tissue and/or fascia. An estimated 5-10 percent of all athletic injuries are related to the lumbar (lower) spine. Therefore, it's important that players understand the strain put on their lower back from their specific sport(s). This will help you take the proper precautions during games and while training. And if a back injury does occur, athletes can often keep playing as long as they have the proper information about treating back injuries and back pain.
Some of the more common issues are lumber muscle sprains, herniated discs, and sacroiliac joint pain. However, all lower back injuries or pain should be evaluated by a medical professional. Although you would like to think that the pain will go away with over-the-counter pain medications, there is the serious possibility that extensive damage has been done. So it's worth a visit to the doctor. Chances are your condition will be treatable with conservative, non-surgical, means. This might include anti-inflammatory medication as well as physical therapy and home exercise. But do see a doctor, it's better to be safe than sorry when dealing with this delicate part of your body, one that you need to remain active.
Stretching and warming up is a vital part of preventing injury. A light warm-up like walking is good for the lumbar spine and surrounding muscles. There are also standing and floor exercises specific to the lower back. These exercises will increase blood flow to the lower back as well as help you to remain flexible. Well-conditioned hamstrings and quadriceps contribute to good lower back health, so be sure to stretch these properly before playing.
Also, muscles need to be strong in general. Part of your regimen should be core strengthening exercises. Core muscles are like a corset that support the back. Be consistent with doing exercises that strengthen the back as well as abdominal muscles. Each group is different, so learn the proper technique for strengthening the entire core with a variety of exercises.
There are also lifestyle changes that contribute to a healthy lower back. Give attention to your posture while sitting and standing. The spine has a natural curvature and when that curvature is maintained during movement, force to the spine and surrounding muscles is distributed more evenly. For instance, do you find that your back hurts while you're driving? Even if it doesn't, next time you get into your vehicle, pay attention to the position of your body while you're driving and adjust it if necessary; try to get accustomed to a position that maintains your spine's natural curve. If you work, whether you sit or stand, you're in pretty much the same position for several hours, so please make sure it's a position that's healthy for your spine.
Low back pain and injury is common among sports players, but it's not impossible to deal with. If you do suffer an injury that temporarily stops your game, don't despair. With the proper medical attention and self-care, you will be back at play before you know it. If your injury was serious, remember to make a slow return. Wait until your pain is minimal or is gone. Also, make sure your range of motion is back to normal. It's better to take the time to heal properly than to do further damage by returning to sports too early.
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