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Spine Injuries in Sports

Spine Injuries in Sports

Did you know that over eight percent of new spinal injuries each year come from spine injuries in sports?

You can reduce your risk of spinal injury by wearing appropriate equipment, practicing good form, or outright avoiding dangerous sports. Here are some of the most common spinal injuries that athletes endure:

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in the vertebra often seen by athletes that incorporate bends or rotations. injury is most frequent among adolescents that play sports like golf, wrestling, and gymnastics.

Stingers are common in contact sports. Also known as burners, stingers are not as severe as other spinal injuries. Stingers can happen when the back or neck is twisted quickly, either by something like a hard tackle or an over extension. Stingers may reoccur if left untreated.

Herniated Discs occur when the inner area of your disc becomes exposed due to a tear in the outside. Patients may find their activities limited due to extreme pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, herniated discs are common in older athletes.

Causes of Spine Injuries in Sports

Many spine injuries are unpredictable and occur with little indication. However, you can minimize your risk of suffering a spinal injury by avoiding the following:

  • Overusing your back
  • Improper form during motions like tackling or swinging
  • Not wearing enough protective gear
  • Poor posture

Spine Injury Symptoms

It can be difficult to determine whether you are suffering from spinal injury or general pain. These symptoms may indicate that you have suffered a spinal injury that requires a second look:

  • Shock
  • Unusual/unnatural head positioning
  • Numbness or tingling throughout extremities
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty moving your limbs

If you are experiencing any combinations of these symptoms, it could mean you have suffered a spinal cord injury. Please contact an orthopedic spine specialist as some spine injuries can be serious or catastrophic in nature.

Spinal Injury Treatment

Treatment for spinal injuries varies by the extent of the injury.

If your injury is not an immediate danger to your health, a physician may recommend physical therapy. A physical therapy program will focus on improving your strength, flexibility, and balance to help you heal and prevent future injury.

Your physician may combine physical therapy with medications to relieve pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs, oral steroids, or epidural injections are different medications you may be prescribed.

If you have suffered a serious spine injury, or one that has not improved with other methods of treatment, you may need surgery.

Click here to learn more about spinal care at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics.

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