While most back pain that is a result of natural degeneration due to aging will develop with years of wear and tear, the single most common cause of back pain is a muscle strain or ligament sprain. For people who lead an active lifestyle and participate in recreational sports, the risk of spine injury increases. However, it’s important that you do not shy away from activity for fear of neck or back pain. Rather, choose sports that reduce your risk, but still promote maximum cardiovascular and muscle health.
Some of the most common sports that lead to neck and back pain, either through spontaneous injury or aggravation of an existing condition like a herniated disc, a bulging disc or spinal stenosis, include the following:
Staying active while reducing back pain
Becoming sedentary to prevent back pain or to mitigate existing pain is not a good idea. Immobility will only decrease circulation, muscle mass, immune function, endorphin levels and cardiovascular function. Rather, choose activities that are challenging but do not place undue stress on the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, facet joints and muscles of the spine. Low-impact activities include yoga, Pilates, cycling on a recumbent stationary bike, using an elliptical trainer instead of jogging, muscle-building with resistance bands and exercise ball therapy.
Other conservative treatment methods
If you would like to explore conservative, non-operative pain relief methods while you take part in activities, work with your physician to design a plan that includes hot/cold compresses, pain medication, steroid injections and behavior modification. Never embark on a plan of diet and exercise without your physician’s supervision.