Athletic Advantage: Lower Back Pain

Even more common than spinal injuries are injuries to the lower back. In this week's Athletic Advantage, Tobin McDuff tells you about the best way to prevent back injuries and why a strong core is a good place to start. 

Lower back injuries are often associated with contact sports like football and wrestling but they can also show up in non-contact sports.

"Sports like golf or tennis that involve a lot of forceful torquing of the back, a lot of forceful twisting, reversals of vectors of motion and things such as that. So there can be a lot of problems in those two sports," says Dr. John D. Reeves.

Golfers and tennis players tend to suffer from more chronic lower back pain than back injuries.

"We don't tend to see the golfers as much unless they're post surgical," says Dr. Reeves. "Then their first question is, 'when can I get on the golf course again?'"

Young athletes can be especially vulnerable to injury because they often try to compete with their peers to see who can lift the most weight. Doctors say the most important thing is to lift the right amount of weight correctly, not see who can lift the most amount of weight.

"Some of these kids are not mature. Some of them are not in very good shape as far as their core. They might be big kids but they're not very strong in their core and they shouldn't be lifting that much weight," says Dr. Reeves. 

Athletic competition is full of unpredictability and it's hard for doctors to tell athletes not to get themselves into a position to get hurt, but there are ways of minimizing the chance for injury.

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