Back Injury Prevention for Athletes & Sports Participants

Back injuries are the number one reason high school athletes and sports participants get benched.  But back injuries happen even to the pros and have ended many a high-flying professional athlete’s career.

It’s easy to get out there and forget about safety, but some things are more important than making that flashy play, or winning the game.  Your back’s health is one of them.  We know you love the action, but you’ll get a whole lot more of it on the field, the track and the court, if you’re all in one piece.

We see a lot of injured backs here at the Advanced Spine Center, so we’re dedicating this post to back injury prevention for athletes and sports participants.

Rest is good.

One of the best practices for athletes of all kinds is to allow your body to rest.  For one month every year, athletes need to take a sabbatical from their chosen sport or activity.  That includes the rigorous training involved.

There’s no need to stop moving.  You can still maintain your cardiovascular health and muscle strength (in fact, you should).  But instead of continuing to push your body to the limit, you’ll choose activities that support your ongoing fitness without pushing your body to the limit.  While training and playing, adhering to a weekly day off is another best practice you need to take seriously.

Rest is good!

Not stretching? NOT an option.

Serious athletes and sports participants know this.  That’s why they show up early and prepare their bodies with a thorough warm up.

The back requires special attention, ensuring that it’s adequately warmed up and ready to do its job.  This is true whether you’re running, lifting weights, riding a bike or playing team sports.  Asking your body to perform without preparation will catch up with you.

The same is true of post-activity cool down.  You need to return your body to its resting state, ensuring that you’re keeping it warm and as dry as possible.  Especially when the weather’s cooler, shocking an overheated body by not taking deliberate steps to cool it down and keep it from stiffening up after a heavy game or workout can lead to back injuries.

Shoes & technique are important.

Improper footwear, believe it or not, causes many sports-related back injuries.  One of the most serious mistakes amateur athletes make is wearing the wrong shoe for the sport or activity.  Do you need cleats?  Wear them.  Do your shoes fit properly?  If not, get a pair that’s supporting your foot.  That’s the foundation of your body, so protect it.

Even amateur athletes need to be sure their technique isn’t putting undue strain on their backs.  Be aware of execution. Train your body to perform the movements required by your sports activity correctly.  You’ll arrive at the point where you won’t have to think about technique once you’re out there.  It will just come naturally.

Back injury prevention for athletes and sports participants is a matter of prudence and preparation.  If you’ve injured your back, contact us.