About 80 percent of the population suffers from a bout of low back pain at some point in their life. However, some people are at higher risk for chronic and acute back injuries due to their lifestyle. For obvious reasons, athletes are at greater risk of sustaining a lumber (lower) spine injury due to physical activity. Whether the sport is skiing, basketball, football, ice skating, soccer, running, golf, or tennis, the spine undergoes a lot of stress, absorption of pressure, twisting, turning, and even bodily impact. This strenuous activity puts a strain on the back that can cause injury to even the finest and most fit athletes. Though the entire spine is used when playing sports, it is estimated that 5-10 percent of all athletic injuries are related to the lumbar (lower) spine. Many cases of low back pain in athletes can be traced to a specific event or trauma; others are brought about by repetitive minor injuries that result in microtraumas.
Even though low back pain can often be treated without major disruption in a person's life, athletes are often reluctant to seek medical help. Many of them deny or minimize complaints in order to avoid consequences, such as: having to decrease activity in order to recover, losing a position or being removed from a team, missing a competition, or letting the team down. Others fear they might lose their worth to the team. Some athletes simply do not want to bother seeing a doctor for pain; they believe it will recover on its own.
Therefore, many athletes - from the weekend warrior to the elite professional athlete - buck up their strength, pop some over-the-counter pain medication, and tolerate the pain for the sake of the game and personal enjoyment. However, avoiding medical help can lead to further and more serious injury. In some cases, without medical help the anatomic damage could eventually lead to permanent exclusion from sporting activities.
The majority of low back pain can be treated with conservative means. All athletes who suffer from it should seek medical advice. The body's ability to be active is worth preserving! For more information or to schedule an evaluation contact the Franklin Pain and Wellness Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.