Back pain in sports people is dealt with pretty much in the same way as back pain in non-sporting person: Use it or Lose it but don’t ever Abuse it! If you are generally fit you should cope with injury better and recover faster, unless your sport or training is contributing to your back problems.
To speed up your recovery it is essential for you to consult a good chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist, preferably one with an interest in sports. This will help to establish the exact diagnosis and whether there is something you are doing to contribute to the problem – through your sport or otherwise. Your training can be modified to work around this problem.
Although it’s terrible to be the bringer of bad news, it may be that your therapist advise you to take a break from your training or sport. He is doing this for your own good in the long run. If you do not allow an injury to recover fully now it may never resolve completely and could hamper your performance forever. If you’re not satisfied with the diagnosis and management plan, then seek a second opinion. Follow your therapist’s advice closely; do not make the mistake of doing more of a given exercise than prescribed, on the basis that if three of something is good for you then 30 of it must be ten times better!
In terms of the diagnosis of your problem – this is no different to any other person: it may be called a ‘sports injury’ but this merely means you did it while participating in sport. Your anatomy is the same as someone who does not participate in sport: you have exactly the same tissues.
It is the only management of your problem and you that may be different to that of a non-sporting person. Each person’s management is slightly different, because we are all different to one another, and all demand different things of our bodies.
In sport there are some very obvious ways to damage your back:
1. Fast bowling in cricket – the left side of the spine is under great pressure in a right armed bowler as he uses this side to decelerate rapidly.
2. Golf can lead to over-rotation of the spine.
3. Squash and badminton require fast twisting, turning and bending movements.
4. Horse riding commonly results in chronic low back strain.
5. Weight training increases the load on your lower back considerably.
6. Physical contact in sport adds to the risk of damaging your back.
In sport you are asking more of your body than in most everyday activities, so you must train for this appropriately. This means working on your flexibility and endurance and, for sports such as wrestling, judo and rugby, your sheer strength also. Sports people should be more aware that in preparing for a particular sport you need to pay attention to total fitness. Any weakness will be exposed- a boxer with a big right hook still needs very good abdominal muscles to absorb the punches he will undoubtedly recieve.