As anyone who played sports in their youth knows, athletics are a key part of a child’s physical and social development. Sports teach children teamwork, friendship, competition and discipline, which is why it’s no surprise that 96.7% of children aged 11-16 and 84.1% of children aged 5-10 play sports outside of school, according to Physiopedia.
Although youth sports offer a host of benefits, the dark side of athletics is the fact that injury often can’t be avoided. Sadly, up to 20% of all sports injuries result in lower back and neck pain, as determined by Spine-Health. Breaking that percentage down further, 10-15% of young athletes suffer lower back pain from sports specifically. In fact, 30% of all athletes will experience back pain playing sports at some point in their career. Look no further than the Premier League, which currently has eight players out on injury due to a cruciate ligament injury, rupture or surgery.
If you’re the parent of a young athlete and want to know which common lower back injuries can occur on and off the pitch in your young one, read our blog below. We’ll help you identify 4 of the most common back injuries, so you can get your son or daughter back out on the pitch making memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Muscle & Ligament Sprains
According to Spine.org, muscle and ligament sprains are the most common cause of sports-related injuries. Muscle and ligament sprains typically occur from overuse, poor technique (especially when weightlifting), lack of conditioning (especially strength) and not stretching properly before a game or exercise. Pain will continue to be felt until the athlete stops playing to rest and recover. Once fully healed, a young athlete should work on increasing his or her muscle flexibility and strength to avoid suffering another sprain.. He or she should also perform exercises that are specific to his or her sport to get the body used to that range of movement again before returning to the game.
Spondylolysis & Spondylolithesis
Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are common sports-related back injuries that occur in young athletes. Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, or spine stress fractures, cause chronic lower back pain and occur in players who partake in sports that involve constant twisting, turning, pressure and impact. Sports which require the hyperextension of the spine heavily lead to these conditions, but their symptoms are often mistaken for a muscle or ligament sprain. Spine stress fractures occur when a crack appears in the spinal column and can be felt when an athlete arches his or her back.
Stingers, or nerve pinch injuries, are a sports-related spinal injury that affects the nerves in the neck or shoulder. Stingers cause painful and extremely sharp pricking sensations to course through an athlete’s arm due to a nerve in the neck or shoulder being compressed and/or overstretched. Stingers typically occur in contact and collision sports, but can be avoided by correcting one’s posture to help eliminate any muscle tightness or weakness in the neck, back or shoulders.
Suffering a herniated disc, or a “slipped disc”, is very uncommon for young athletes, but it does affect a small percentage of the population. A herniated disc occurs when a bulging disc puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve endings, which results in pain, numbness and tingling down the arm. Some people tend to mistake a herniated disc for sciatica since sciatica also causes a sharp, tingling pain to run straight down the leg. If a young athlete suffers from a slipped disc, the pain will be felt in his or her lower back.
Back Care Online stocks hundreds of back care products that are designed to comfort and relieve pain in the lower back, neck and shoulders. Shop our products by pain below to help your young athlete recover from a back injury and contact us with any questions or concerns. Our back care products are trusted and supplied to the largest brands in Health Care, including the NHS, Lloyds Pharmacy, Bupa & Nuffield Health.