Common sports injuries – 3 parts by Mary Thornton BSc Hons MCSP HPC
Low back pain
Most people at some point in their lives experience an episode of low back pain. The presentation can vary considerably from a sudden sharp pain during a movement preventing the individual from resuming normal posture to a gradual nagging sensation in the back over a period of time. These symptoms can also be accompanied by pain radiating into the buttocks or legs.
It could be caused by pure muscle spasm in the back, dysfunction of the pelvic or spinal joints or even compression of a spinal nerve as in sciatica.
Women can also experience low back pain at some point during their menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes, this is most common 10 – 7 days before menstruation.
Neglecting the spine during your training regime can result in segmental spinal stiffness. For example cardio vascular and power based training alone can result in the build up of external global skeletal muscles which results in muscle imbalances developing placing undue strain on the back.
To help prevent this it is imperative that you incorporate some type of movement awareness training into your programme such as pilates (www.pilatesfoundation.com) to help prevent muscle imbalances occurring and to keep the back flexible and strong.
If you are a runner or dancer experiencing back pain also examine the surfaces on which you are running or dancing on i.e. concrete or unsprung floors which can result in increased forces on the spine. Also check your training shoes to ensure that they give the right amount of shock absorption for the environment in which you train.
- keep your spine supple.
- build up endurance in your postural muscles
- avoid prolonged slouched positions
- warm up for your exercise by replicating the movements needed for your activity at aslower controlled pace.
- build up your sport/activity slowly.
If you experience back pain that last for more then 2 weeks or prevents you functioning normally then consult a chartered Physiotherapist to determine the reason for your symptoms.