This post is dedicated to my Brother-in-law (and his wife), due to a reoccuring back injury. As I’m researching on the subject, I thought the information so important I had to share. Lower back injuries are all TOO COMMON amongst our youth at the moment.
Sports require rest/recovery periods, the right exercises, stretching and nutrition. You only have one body, no matter what your sport is, you need to be aware of your own body’s restrictions to prevent permanent injury.
Please Note:- If you return to sport without preparation, the correct exercises and recovery time, you could set yourself back anything from 6 weeks to a year. Continuing to play with an injury, can cause more damage than was originally done, therefore treatment time extends and the body is at more risk of permanent injury.
Whether you play sports rarely, regulary or competitvely; please consider these questions before returning to your sport after a back injury:
- Do you want to still play the sport, even though it stresses your back?
- If you continue with the sport, will you continue at the same level or play at a less intense level?
- When did your back injury occur? How severe was the injury?
- Have you talked about wanting to return to the sport with your doctor, physical therapist, or other health care provider?
- Have you been doing exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your back?
- Are you still in good shape?
- Are you pain-free when you do the movements your sport requires?
- Have you regained all or most of the range of motion in your spine?
When you are deciding when and if to return to a sport after having low back pain, the amount of stress that any sport places on your spine is an important factor to consider. If you would like to return to a more intense sport or a contact sport, it is essential to speak to a professional about whether it is safe to do this. More intense sports may not be good for you if you have had a repeated injury in the same area.
Doing any activity over too long a period of time can cause injury. Activities that involve contact, heavy/repetitive lifting, or twisting (especially when moving or at high-speed) can also cause injury.
These are some general tips about when to return to sports and conditioning. It may be safe to return to your sport when you have:
- No pain
- Normal range of motion without pain
- Regained enough strength in the muscles related to your sport
- Regained the endurance you need for your sport
The type of back injury or problem you are recovering from is a factor for deciding when you can return to your sport. These are general guidelines:
- After a back sprain or strain, you should be able to start to return to your sport within several weeks if your symptoms have resolved.
- After a slipped disk in one area of your spine, with or without having a surgery, most people recover in 1 – 6 months. You need to do exercises to strengthen the muscles that surround your spine, glutes, core and hips for a safe return to sports. Many people are able to return to a competitive level of sports.
- After having disk and other problems in more than one area of your spine, return to sports needs to be done carefully. You should be under the care of a health care provider or physical therapist. You should take even more care after surgeries that involve fusing bones of your spine together.
Large muscles of your abdomen, upper legs, and buttocks attach to your spine and pelvic bones. They help stabilize and protect your spine during activity and sports. Weakness in these muscles may be part of the reason you first injured your back. After resting and treating your symptoms after your injury, these muscles will most likely be even weaker and less flexible.
Getting these muscles back to the point where they support your spine well is called core strengthening. Your health care provider and physical therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen these muscles. It is important to do these exercises correctly to prevent further injury.
Once you are ready to return to your sport it is important to always warm up with an easy movement (such as walking), this will help increase blood flow to the muscles and ligaments in your back. Be sure to stretch the muscles in your upper back, lower back, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps.
When you are ready to begin the movements and actions involved in your sport, start slowly. Before going full force, take part in the sport at a less intense level. See how you feel that night and the next day before you slowly increase the force and intensity of your movements.
Imagine being unable to pick up your children?
Where are you priorities?
Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatu
Safiyah Esack – 20/05/2013