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Playing With Your Health: Back Pain In Young Athletes

May 1, 2008
My ice skating and tennis days were spent thinking of the fun I was having, not what I could be ultimately doing to my healthy body. Not realizing the impact sports could have on my body, I went on playing my favorite sports without reluctance. Years later -- and many strained muscles along the way -- I realized that getting good back treatment early on would have been the best solution. If only I knew that then.

I spent years shrugging off low back pain when I worked on my backhand or hit the ice, but eventually the pain caught up to me. I went to my first chiropractor appointment when I was a young adult, and realized I had spent years neglecting my back. My low back is now doing great, but early back pain treatment would have helped by offering a speedier and easier back pain recovery period.

Many kids and young adults have probably gone through a similar situation. The younger generation today is usually active in some way, but is this activity causing more damage than good? Maybe -- if people are not aware of the strain they may be putting their bodies through.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "80 percent of the population, suffers from a bout of low back pain at some point in their life." The only problem is that these low back sufferers are not only adults; studies are showing that younger kids are experiencing back pain due to sports.

Basketball, football, ice skating, soccer, tennis, and golf are all popular sports, but sports that can also lead to injury because of the stress each can cause to the body. "Absorption of pressure, twisting, turning, and even bodily impact," can all be causes of acute back problems. Athletes are also susceptible to spine injuries because of such physical sports.

Athletes make full use of their spine when playing sports, and according to the University of Maryland's Spine Center, "5-10 percent of all athletes' injuries are related to the lumbar (lower) spine." This may not look like a huge number, but the trauma to the low back can be severe if occurred over and over again.

Another reason why the pain can advance is because athletes don't always seek medical attention right away. They let their pain get unbearable, and sometimes the recovery process can take longer as a result. That is why low back pain can become more severe in athletes who wait for care.

An article titled "Back Pain Hitting Younger Athletes," on NYPost.com discusses the trend of low back pain in athletes. "... Sports medicine specialists around the country are seeing an increase in stress fractures involving other areas - specifically the spine and low back. Low back pain is a common complaint among athletes," according to the article, featured on the publication's online site.

Low back pain among athletes can occur in various areas and due to a variety of reasons. Straining the body, and putting the spine in awkward positions can irritate the back; overusing the muscles with daily athletic activities can also cause low back pain.

Since sports are popular in high schools and colleges, many students are having low back problems from straining their muscles on a daily basis. Oftentimes students don't realize that they have strained their spine, leading to low back pain. When they continue to play with these hurt muscles, the recovery time suffers.

There are many causes of low back pain in athletes. Check with your local chiropractor for more information on the specifics. One thing athletes do have in common: if they get treatment early on, they can live happier, athletic lives.

On the Net

University of Maryland Medical Center
http://www.umm.edu

New York Post
http://www.nypost.com/seven/07032007/entertainment/health/back_pain_hitting_younger_athletes_health_.htm
About the Author
Mahsa Khalilifar is a freelance writer for Orange County Spinal Decompression in Irvine, CA. She received her bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism from California State University, Fullerton. She has been involved in the health care industry for over eight years. Orange County Spinal Decompression is Orange County's premiere DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Office specializing in the treatment of neck and back pain.
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