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May. 01 2019 Published by: Dr. Craig Singer

You Injured Your Back Playing Sports — What Now?

You Injured Your Back Playing Sports -- What Now?

You never know how important your spinal cord and back are until you suffer an injury in that area. Unfortunately, there are about a million different ways you can hurt your back playing a variety of different sports, and any type of back injury — neck, upper back, or lower back — can seriously affect your ability to walk, run, or just engage in regular daily activities.

Then, of course, there’s what you should do about getting back in the game. Once you’ve injured your back, you can’t just dive back in. You need to take extra care to recover properly and make sure everything is working as it should.

Follow this guide after a back injury to minimize your risk of further damage and stay safe as you ease back into the game.

Identify the Injury

It can be tempting to minimize your back injury or pretend that you’re not in pain. If you aren’t honest with yourself about your injury, however, you only increase your risk of making the injury worse.

Here are some signs that you should seek treatment and give yourself time to rest:

  • Your pain levels have increased over time
  • The pain goes beyond your back to your legs or arms
  • You have trouble walking or using the bathroom
  • You’ve recently experienced an injury and haven’t consulted a professional

First step? Pull yourself out of your favorite sport for a few days as you try to recover. If things don’t seem to be getting better on their own, visit a doctor and identify your injury.

This will help you choose the best path toward recovery. While some types of back pain may just require a few weeks of limited activity, others may need more serious treatments.

Apply Heat and Ice

Injuries can cause swelling and tension in the muscles. Before you start your recovery, you will need to reduce swelling.

Apply ice to your back for 30 minutes every few hours. After a few days, treat your muscles to a heating pad — heat will relax the muscles and undo some of the tension caused by the injury.

Rest — the Right Way

Resting is important to recovery, but “resting” after a sports injury is different than staying in bed all day and not moving. Inactivity can be just as harmful as getting back into the game too soon.

The key to resting after a back injury is engaging in light physical activity. Walking, rather than running, will keep the muscles active while you recover. Additionally, you can still lift weights, but decrease the amount that you lift and use supports.

A physical therapist can give more recommendations on how to stretch and exercise your muscles without putting too much strain on them.

Consult a Chiropractor

How will you know what movements and treatments are best for your spine? Consult a professional. A chiropractor can help you assess your back pain after an injury and create a treatment plan that works for you.

Fort Lauderdale Chiropractor

This treatment plan may include spinal manipulation, fusion, or (in worst-case scenarios) a type of surgery that will help you get back on track. You might just need massage treatments to release tension. The chiropractor could also refer you to a physical therapist or other medical professional who can help you recover through movement and therapy.

Only Start Playing When You’re Truly Ready

How will you know that you are ready to start playing sports again? Your chiropractor or physical therapist will sign off on it.

If you aren’t seeing a medical professional regularly after your injury, make sure the following apply before you start playing sports again:

  • Your pain is gone (or you only experience very mild pain that doesn’t affect your ability to walk and run)
  • You have regained a full range of motion in your neck or back
  • You have the same strength and endurance in your back muscles that you had pre-injury

Not ready yet? Keep building up your strength — and be patient. If you give your muscles more than they can handle, you’ll only set yourself for another injury down the road.

Get In the Habit of Warming Up

Some injuries are caused by falls or blows to the back. Other injuries are caused by putting too much stress on the back without warming up. It’s important to get in the habit of warming up to prevent injury, and it’s even more important to get in the habit of warming up to prevent further injury.

Warming up can be anything from a gentle jog to a mix of dynamic and static stretches. Make sure you target the muscles you will be using in the game and build your warm-up gradually until you feel energized and ready to play.

Build Up Your Core

Once you’ve recovered from a back injury, take extra care to prevent further injuries. One of the best ways to prevent back injuries is to build up your core. The more your core can handle, the less work your back will have to do to keep you upright and playing. (Plus, if you build your core up enough, you’ll have some nice-looking abs!)

Sports Injury Treatment Fort Lauderdale

Bottom line? The best thing you can do is to take more time than you think you need to recover and build yourself back up after an injury. Your back is crucial to just about every kind of physical activity you do — the more you injure it, the more you limit yourself.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Singer has been a practicing chiropractor for more than 20 years, and USA Health & Therapy has been around since 2004. Over the course of his career, Singer has helped tens of thousands of people with all kinds of issues by using a wide variety of treatment strategies. He has extensive knowledge of chiropractic modalities, including Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop Table, and Activator, and in 1997 he earned a special adjunctive Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma (CCST) to better provide care for car crash victims. Dr. Singer is licensed to practice chiropractic medicine in both Florida and New York.

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3434 Northeast 12th Avenue
Oakland Park, FL 33334-4523
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