What Spine Injuries Are Most Common in Athletes?

Amateur and professional athletes alike subject their bodies to considerable stress from overtraining, repetitive movements, and abrupt impacts. Any part of the body can develop athletic injuries, including the back. Athletes who have suffered a spinal injury in the Los Angeles area can consult a spine doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Athletic spinal injuries can often be treated with conservative therapies, but sometimes, spine surgery is recommended.

Athletic-spinal-injuries

Herniated Discs

Disc injuries are more common among older athletes. These refer to injuries of the intervertebral discs, which are cushion-like structures located between the vertebrae. With age, the discs begin to lose water content, which makes them less flexible and more prone to injury. Athletes who suffer a sudden impact can sustain a herniated disc, which occurs when the inner material pushes through the exterior wall. Herniated disc material can compress nearby spinal nerves, leading to back pain. Other symptoms of disc herniation include numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling that radiates down the limbs. For a serious athlete, getting back in the game quickly is the ultimate goal. Minimally invasive spine surgery translates to a shortened overall recovery time compared to open spine surgery. After the procedure, athletes can expect a period of rest and rehabilitation before getting back to their usual training routines.

Spondylosis

Spondylosis does not refer to one specific injury. Rather, it’s an umbrella term that encompasses any sort of degeneration that affects the spine . Anyone can develop spondylosis, but athletes might be more likely to develop it at a younger age than the general population because of the considerable stress placed on their bodies. For instance, gymnastics, football, and weightlifting exert major stress on the lower back. The strain on the back might lead to spondylolisthesis, which is a condition in which a vertebra begins to slip out of place. This may require surgery to correct.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can involve muscle strains and tears of the ligaments. Although these might not require spine surgery, they do require proper treatment to avoid future complications. Rest is called for when athletes experience back pain and other unusual symptoms. After a period of rest, physical therapy can help restore proper functioning.

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