How sports injuries can cause neck or back pain

Sports injuries can be painful, both physically and emotionally. Many times, those who play sports professionally or for scholarships return to activity before healing has adequately progressed due to internal and external pressures. However, this early return to strenuous activity often results in re-injury and lifelong disability can occur as a result of a repetitive injury.

Many sports, especially ones that involve repetitive motion or strain to the same muscles and bones, may result in back injuries. Common sports injuries to the back include sprains and strains, fractures, pinched nerves, spondylolysis and herniated discs. Not only are back injuries extremely painful, but also they may permanently limit some activities. Proper treatment of injuries reduces total loss of time away from sports and more importantly, prevents permanent dysfunction. To learn about how to avoid a sports injury as well as how to properly treat them, read the following article.

Preventing sports injuries

The following strategies help prevent sports injuries to your neck and back:

  • Stretch thoroughly and carefully before participating. Be sure not to overextend and if your stretches cause you pain, stop immediately.
  • Always begin with a warm-up that consists of easy movement. The goal is to slowly increase the flow of blood as well as oxygen and nutrients to your neck and back.
  • If your sport requires specialized movement, such as swinging a bat or a golf club, make sure to warm up the muscles involved. Start with some gentle repetitions of the motions involved before maximal performance.
  • Wear any required protective gear, especially in contact sports.
  • Do not play through the pain. If you feel the start of an injury, stop playing and rest before the injury can become worse.

Proper care of sports injuries

If you do injure your back while playing sports, take immediate steps to minimize the damage:

  • See a doctor to find out the extent of the injury. Do this immediately for severe injuries. For minor injuries, a short resting and observation period is appropriate.
  • Rest the injury and do not continue to play again before the injury resolves.
  • Use hot and cold compresses to minimize inflammation, reduce swelling and relieve pain. Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may also help with pain relief and reducing swelling and inflammation.
  • After consulting a doctor, exercise to strengthen your core muscles. These muscles help stabilize and protect the spine. They help to prevent injuries and help minimize injuries.
  • Reintroduce activity gradually. Start with walking or conditioning exercises before returning to your full training routine.

Conservative treatments such as rest and pain medication often heal the injury after a few weeks or months, although severe sports injuries may require surgery. If pain from sports injuries or any other spinal conditions is limiting your activities, then contact Laser Spine Institute for more information on how our minimally invasive spine surgery can help you find relief.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often clinically appropriate over open neck or back surgery.^ The highly skilled surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have decades of combined experience in treating chronic spine pain, helping more than 75,000 patients since 2005. Reach out to our team today and request a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.