How Sports Affect Spine Injuries

Spine Injuries Are Sadly Common in Sports Medicine




While you may love the game, you should know the dangers behind the sport you play when it comes to protecting your spine. In a 2008 study investigating spinal injuries in sports, Boden & Jarvis found that sports account for over eight percent of new spinal cord problems each year. This number could be reduced with proper training, protection, and avoiding sports that cause spine stress altogether.



What Leads to Spine Injuries in Sports?

Your first guess might be high-impact sports like football and rugby. However, high-impact sports are not the only causes of spinal injury in sports. Lower-impact sports that involve using the same movements over and over like running, tennis, and golf are harmful when not executed properly. This leads to overuse with immediate or long-term ramifications later in life.

Other back injuries may be caused by improper form during activities like tackling and swinging, lack of stretching, and direct impact to the spinal cord.



Types of Spine Injuries

In order to avoid spine injuries, you might want to know a few common ones that occur in sport:

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture of the vertebra that strikes athletes whose sport involves bends and rotations. It is common amongst adolescents and in sports such as golf, wrestling, and gymnastics.

stinger is frequent in high contact sports. Also known as burners, stingers are not as catastrophic as an injury to the spinal cord. Stingers occur if the back or neck is twisted quickly, like from a hard tackle or over extending during a game. If left unattended, stringers may reoccur and cause severe pain.

Herniated disks occur when the outer part of your disc tears, exposing the inner portion. A herniated disk may be extremely painful and limit your activity. This injury is more common amongst older athletes and is caused by overusing back muscles, according to Mayo Clinic.



Preventing Spine Injuries

While there is no way to out-and-out eliminate spinal injuries, there are measures you can take to limit them:

Warm up and Stretch

Warm up any areas that will be used during your sporting activities. If your sport involves heavy usage of your back, make sure to incorporate back stretches.

Wear Protective Gear

Use protective gear if provided or necessary. Back belts and braces are helpful during heavy lifting.

Know Your Surroundings

Sports like diving require you to know your surroundings. You are most likely safe if you are diving at an event, however, if you’re somewhere unfamiliar, ensure the water is deep enough for diving.

Maintain Good Posture

A lot of back injuries are caused by over pressure. It is good to keep your posture as good as possible to lessen the pressure on your back and reduce injury risk.



Spine Injury Symptoms

You may find it challenging to distinguish between a spine injury or general back pain. Here are some common symptoms of spinal cord injuries:



Book an Appointment With a Spine Doctor Near You

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, you should contact a back doctor near you to rule out spine injury. Some spine injuries are more serious than others and should be treated immediately.

Our Spine Specialists, Dr. Chris Glattes and Dr. Collin Crosby, are located in Nashville, TN, and Franklin, TN. To book an appointment at one of our locations nearest to you, click here

Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopedics Elite Sports Medicine Team Elite's team of orthopedic surgeons, midlevels, and marketers coordinated on a written piece.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Doctor vs. Podiatrist

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Doctor vs. Podiatrist

When you have a problem with your foot or ankle that requires medical attention, who do you see for treatment — an orthopedist or a podiatrist? Many people think a podiatrist is the same as an orthopedist, but there are several significant differences betw
Orthopedic Surgeon Completing Arthroscopic Procedure

What Is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Orthopedic surgeons treat conditions in the knee, shoulder, elbow, back, hand, foot, and more. Learn more about orthopedic surgery and how you can find the best doctor near you. Elite has 12 highly skilled orthopedic surgeons in Nashville, TN.
Pictured: Back doctor giving diagnosis

The Back Doctor - What You Should Know

Do you need to see a back doctor in Nashville, TN? Our team of fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons include some of the best spine specialists near you. Learn about symptoms and prevention of back pain and back conditions.
Hand Pain May Lead You to a Hand Doctor

The Hand Doctor - What You Should Know

Do you need to see a hand doctor in Nashville, TN? Our award-winning orthopedic surgeons include some of the best hand specialists near you. Check out this guide to see if you could live a lower pain lifestyle.