Common Spinal Sports Injuries

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sports spinal injury

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Beyond the competitive aspect of sports, they can create a more enjoyable exercise experience. However, in certain sports, there’s a risk of injury to your spine.

Several factors influence spinal sports injuries, including poor form, not warming up, or playing high-impact sports. Practicing the proper technique for your chosen sport can reduce your risk of injury. But, regardless of practice, some sports may cause injuries more than others.

This article will discuss common spinal sports injuries and tips to prevent them.

Four Common Sports-Related Spinal Injuries

Herniated Discs

Flexure of the spine is a common movement occurring across many sports. But, twisting the back with a flexed spine results in destructive forces to your vertebrae. These vertebral discs tend to herniate or “slip” as a result of this. A herniated disc can compress the spinal cord and cause symptoms like pain, numbness in the extremities, and weakness.

The most common sports-related causes of a herniated disc include poor form, overtraining, or muscular imbalance. To manage a herniated disc, patients typically require professional medical care.

Cervical Spine Injuries

The cervical spine is the part of the spinal cord that runs through the neck. Injuries in this area most commonly occur during contact sports like football or hockey, but can also develop from low-contact sports like skiing or weightlifting.

If you have a cervical spine injury, you may experience muscle sprains or a “stinger” caused by the stretching of nerves in your neck due to overextension or compression. In these cases, patients report electric shock-like pain that lasts seconds to minutes.

Physical therapy is a great way to prevent cervical spine injuries in athletes by strengthening the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck.

Vertebral Stress Fractures

Vertebral stress fractures result from repetitive twisting or extending of the spine. Long-term stress from these motions can induce small cracks in your vertebrae. Stress fractures most commonly occur in gymnasts, dancers, golfers, and volleyball players.

Common symptoms of vertebral stress fractures include pain, swelling, and bruising. To prevent this injury, avoid overexertion by taking regular breaks. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a vertebral stress fracture, consult with a specialist to plan your treatment.

Lower Back Sprains

Lower back strains stem from underdeveloped muscles or ligaments, or poor technique. Lower back sprains are one of the most common spinal injuries that can result from most sports, especially gymnastics and weightlifting.

The symptoms of a lower back sprain include pain, swelling, and weakness in the lower back. Similar to cervical spine sprains, the best way to prevent lower back sprains is comprehensive physical therapy to strengthen the supporting structures of the spine.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain or immobility due to a sports-related spinal injury, it may be time to seek professional care. The chiropractors at Wasserman Chiropractic are experts at managing spinal injuries non-invasively with rehabilitation and physical therapy. Contact us to schedule a consultation.