Back Issues for Athletes

Occasionally, young athletes who play sports injure their neck or backs. Many issues occur after repeatedly overusing the structures of the spine. Consequently, suitable treatment of a young athlete is comprised of a thorough doctor evaluation with imaging studies whenever necessary. 

Although the vast majority of athletic injuries to the back are sprains of the ligaments or strains of the muscles, back injuries and back pain that occur during athletic play can have several causes. These causes can include: sprained ligaments and/or muscles, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, pinched nerves and much more. 

Muscle and ligament sprains are the most frequent injuries that cause back issues in an athlete. They are usually triggered by athletic overuse, incorrect body mechanics, absence of correct conditioning, inadequate stretching, and general trauma. The athlete will feel back pain with movement and will feel better with rest. 

Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are issues affecting the vertebra and are often seen in athletes who play sports that involve twisting of the spine like a gymnast. With these sorts of issues, it is critically important to monitor to ensure they are not getting any worse or more complex. 

Another fairly common cause of back pain in an athlete is known as a “stinger.” These injuries are charaterized by the athlete experiencing painful electrical sensations radiating through one or more of the extremities such as an arm. These are usually caused by some sort of nerve damage in the shoulder or neck. These sorts of injuries are most common for athletes who play contact sports such as football or wrestling. 

There are other back disorders that cause issues and pain for young athletes as well. These can include disc injuries and Scheuermann's Disease. Both are uncommon for athletes, but they do occur occasionally. Disc injuries are associated with pain in the leg and, occasionally, require surgery. Scheuermann’s Disease is characterized by a round back malformation that degenerates to a "dome" appearance of the back when bending forward. This is corrected by having a brace put on and, in extreme cases, surgery. 

Regardless of what condition you think you may have, if you or an athlete are experiencing any of the above symptoms you should see a doctor immediately. If you would like to see Dr. Cohen you can get in touch with us by visiting http://drbenjamincohen.com/contactus

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