High-Impact Sports are Often Causes of Arthritis of the Spine

While participating in a sport can be beneficial to your health overall, certain sports can place you at a higher risk for arthritis of the spine earlier in your life. It should be noted that most people show some degree of osteoarthritis in their spine and other joints by the time they reach their 60s, due primarily to the typical wear and tear on the cartilage between joints. However, the repetitive trauma involved in some sports can accelerate the progression of the condition.

Examples of sports that might lead to spinal osteoarthritis

For purposes of this article, a high-impact sport means any activity that places tremendous loads of pressure on the components of the spine, particularly during impacts with other players or the ground, or while twisting the spine. Examples of such sports include:

  • Football, where being tackled is a normal occurrence
  • Weightlifting, where a great strain is placed on the back regularly (and even more so, should the lifter use improper form)
  • Gymnastics, where the repeated backbends and dismount landings can place excessive stress on the lower back
  • Ice hockey, where colliding with other players or the boards at great speeds can jar the spine

Other risk factors for arthritis

Participation in these sports is only one risk factor of many; your activity of choice doesn’t automatically ensure that you will have early-onset arthritis of the spine. The risk is greater, however, if you have other factors that could compound the development of the condition. For example, some people have naturally thinner cartilage due to their genetic makeup. Athletes who have sustained previous joint injuries or undergone joint surgery are also stand an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and you’re ready to explore the minimally invasive spine surgeries performed by Laser Spine Institute, contact us today. We can offer you a review of your most recent MRI or CT scan.