By Olivia O Leary D.C BSc Hons
You may play sports only rarely, play a sport on a regular basis, or play a sport at a competitive level. No matter how involved you are in a sport, we need to consider a number of questions before returning to your sport after back pain and injury:
• Do you want to still play the sport, even though in some cases it might stress your back and If you continue with the sport, will you continue at the same level or play at a less intense level?
• When did your back injury occur? How severe was your injury?
• Have you talked about how to return to sport with one of our Gorey Family Chiropractic team, or another specialist health care provider?
• Have you been doing exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your back?
• Are you pain-free when you do the movements your sport requires?
• Have you regained all or most of the range of motion (flexibility) of your spine?
WHICH TYPE OF SPORT IS BEST
When you are deciding when and if to return to a sport after having low back pain, the amount of stress that any sport places on your spine is an important factor to consider. If you would like to return to a more intense sport or a contact sport, talk about whether you can safely do this with one of our Gorey Family Chiropractic team.
CONTACT OR MORE INTENSE SPORTS MAY NOT BE A GOOD CHOICE FOR IF:
• You have had surgery on more than one level of your spine.
• You have had repeated injury or surgery in the same area of your spine.
Bear in mind that performing heavy physical activity over too long a period of time can cause back pain and injury. Activities that involve contact, heavy or repetitive lifting, or twisting (especially when moving or at high-speed) can contribute to the development of back pain and injury.
WHEN TO RETURN TO SPORT:
These are some general tips about when to return to sports. It may be safe for you to return to your sport when you have:
• No back pain or only mild back pain
• Normal or almost normal range of motion (flexibility) of your back without pain
• Regained enough strength in the muscles related to your sport
• Regained the endurance you need for your sport
The type of back pain or injury you are recovering from is a key factor in deciding when you can return to your sport.
GENERAL GUIDELINES INCLUDE:
• After a mild back sprain or strain, you should be able to start to return to your sport within a few days to several weeks if your symptoms have resolved.
• After a prolapsed disk in one area of your spine, with or without having a surgery called micro-diskectomy, most people recover between 3- 6 months. You must do back exercises to strengthen the muscles that surround your spine and hip for a safe return to sports. Many people are then able to return safely to a competitive level of sports.
• After having disk and other problems in more than one area of your back, returning to sports needs to be done carefully. You should be under the care of a chiropractor or other appropriately trained and experienced healthcare professional.
MAKING MUSCLES MORE FLEXIBLE AND STRONGER
Large muscles of your abdomen, upper legs, and buttocks attach to your spine and pelvic bones. They help stabilize and protect your spine during activity and sports.
Weakness in these muscles may be part of the reason you first injured your back and developed back pain. After resting and treating your symptoms after your back injury, these muscles will most likely be even weaker and less flexible.
Getting these muscles back to the point where they support your spine well is called core strengthening. Our Gorey Family Chiropractic team will teach you the necessary exercises to strengthen these muscles. It is important to do these exercises correctly and consistently to prevent further back pain and injury.
ONCE YOU ARE READY TO RETURN TO YOUR SPORT
• Warm up your back with an easy movement such as walking. This will help increase blood flow to the muscles and ligaments in your back.
• Stretch the muscles in your upper and lower back and your hamstrings (large muscles in the back of your thighs) and quadriceps (large muscles in the front of your thighs).
When you are ready to begin the movements and actions involved in your sport, start slowly. Before going full force, take part in your sport at a less intense level. See how you feel that night and the next day before you slowly increase the force and intensity of your movements.
GOREY FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC: SUPPORTING YOUR RECOVERY AND MAINTAINING IT
Our specialist Chiropractic team are trained and hold extensive experience both in Ireland and the U.K in back pain diagnosis, back pain treatment and back pain rehabilitation. We have treated players from amateur level right up to to professional level from a range of sporting backgrounds. We consider not only your back pain, but the root cause of your back problem and will work with you to get you out of back pain and back to participation in your chosen sport in an effective, safe, timely manner.
For your convenience all of our Gorey Family Chiropractic team are registered with VHI, Glo, Aviva and Laya Healthcare allowing clients claim reimbursement from a wide range of private healthcare Insurance providers. We also provide care under the GAA injury scheme.
Opening hours Mon 8-7, Tues 9-5, Wed 8-7, Thurs 9-5, Frid 8-7
Tel: 053 94 83338 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org