How to manage disc pain in recreational sports

Whether participating in recreational sports is your hobby or a full-time passion, it’s important to remain aware of your spinal health. Chronic neck or back pain can rob you of the sports you love, like bowling, softball, golf, fishing or swimming. Unfortunately, sometimes our favorite activities increase the risk of developing a damaged disc in the spine, including the bending and twisting in bowling, the sliding in softball and the twisting motion when casting a fishing line.

While these activities do increase a person’s risk for disc damage, they also help keep the spine and the surrounding muscles strong and healthy. In the event that disc damage does occur, it is important to educate yourself with disc pain management in the following article so you can get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.

Understanding how to help prevent disc pain and injury

No one can completely prevent a damaged disc or back pain, however, there are certain factors that may help lower your risk of developing a damaged disc. Here are a few tips to help prevent a herniated or bulging disc as you participate in recreational sports:

  • Consult a doctor or certified athletic trainer to make sure you are in good physical condition before you participate
  • Develop a pregame stretching routine that targets the major muscle groups you expect to use
  • Along with stretching, remember to warm up with a light jog or other simple aerobic exercises
  • Know your physical limits and stay within them
  • When undiagnosed neck or back pain develops, stop playing immediately and consult a doctor

The presence of disc pain does not necessarily mark the end of your athletic career. Many instances of a bulging or herniated disc go undetected and produce no symptoms and even those that do produce symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness do not need to keep you away from recreational sports for too long.

Treatment options for managing disc pain

With guidance from a doctor and proper disc pain management, such as over-the-counter or prescription medication, physical therapy, rest, massage and behavior modification, pain can usually fade over time. However, if chronic neck or back pain persists even after several weeks or months of conservative disc pain management, your doctor may suggest seeing if you are a candidate for surgery. If this is true for you, Laser Spine Institute offers safer and effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery.^

The minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization procedure used for many patients with a damaged disc relieve nerve compression by removing the portion of the disc that is pinching the nerve root and causing the pain. If the entire damaged disc must be removed, our surgeons replace it with an artificial disc and sometimes bone grafts are used to help maintain the natural movement of the spine after surgery. Our procedures use a small incision and muscle-sparing techniques to reduce the risk of pain, bleeding and complication compared to traditional open back surgery.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery can help you stay off the sidelines by allowing our patients to experience an outpatient procedure, shorter recovery times and higher patient satisfaction scores compared to traditional open back surgery.^ Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost MRI review* to learn if our minimally invasive outpatient procedures would be effective in managing your disc pain and getting you back to your daily routine.