Athletes are accustomed to pain that result from a successful training program or sports activity including weight lifting and cardiovascular exercises. The good pain is the burning muscle pain and fatigue which is caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the exerted muscles. Athletes and fitness buffs are believer of the saying “No Pain, No gain”! To enhance the strength and endurance the athletes must push their physical boundaries. The muscles must be put to stress over what it is used to experiencing to optimize the athletic performance. The good pain is usually short-lived, and ends after few minutes of the strenuous workout. If the fatigue and pain continues even after appropriate rest, it may be a sign of muscle injury. For an athlete it is crucial to differentiate between the good pain and the far more serious bad pain that is caused due to excessively strained muscles or injuries such as stress fracture or tear.
Athletes that play a sport vigorously and exercise regularly accept the risk of accidental injuries. Though the sports related injury can affect any body part or joint, lower back injury is the most common. It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of all athletic injuries are related to lower spine. The four most common injuries and conditions likely to affect athletes are Back strain, Spondylolysis, Spondylolisthesis, and Herniated disk. The causes and symptoms for different kind of lower back injuries varies and so does the treatment and prevention strategy.
Symptoms of Lower Back Injuries
- Pain in the lower back
- Lower back muscle spasms
- Numbness and loss of sensitivity
- Development of weakness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Fevers, chills or severe sweating at night
Causes of Lower Back Pain in Athletes
- Back Muscle Strain- One of the most common causes of lower back pain is back muscle strain. A violent or sudden motion or an over-extension of the back muscles usually causes tendons or ligaments to stretch or tear. It can occur when absorbing a blow from another athlete or lifting or moving heavy objects. Back strains can also be triggered by seemingly harmless movements such as launching a serve or catching a football on the run, bending over to tie a shoe, picking up a basketball or swinging a club.
- Herniated Disc- Another common cause of low back pain is a herniated disc also known as “slipped,” “torn,” or “ruptured” disk. A herniated disc often results when the inner jelly-like center of a disc leaks out due to lifting heavy objects. When the herniated discs touch the nearby sensitive spinal nerves, it results in symptoms of numbness, burning, weakness and changes in reflexes. A herniated disk may also result in leg pain called Sciatica.
- Past Injuries- Athlete’s experience general back pain, stiffness and a restricted range of motion due to past injuries that have not yet healed. Neglecting a past injury causes athletes to subconsciously not engage their back muscles while stretching or performing certain activities and exercises. The back pain can get even worse if the athletes don’t realize it on time.
Who’s at Risk of Lower Back Pain
The athletes who often place stress on their spine are vulnerable to a back strain. Weight lifters and field event athletes such as shot throwers/putters along with discus and javelin players are most susceptible to spinal injuries. Athletes that are often the most affected by lower back pain include gymnasts, rowers, divers, skiers, golfers, and basketball, football and tennis players.
Comeback Strategy after Back Injury-
- Drink plenty of water and nutritious drinks before, during and after workouts or games.
- Slowly increase the exercise intensity, frequency and duration of the workout. Execute each movement required in your sport slowly and build up gradually. Increase the speed of movements by not more than 10 percent a week before returning to normal training and competition. Follow the rule: Perform the amount of exercise you think you can do and cut it by 1/3 the first few times you do it.
- A lower back support can help you to distribute the pressure evenly on the muscles of the lower back.
- Do not bend at the waist while lifting heavy objects. Keep the back straight, bend your knees and use your legs muscles to lift the object.
- Targeted stretching can help strengthen core muscles and avoid joint stiffness. Maintain aerobic capacity and stamina by performing aquatic exercises that do no cause pain such as swimming or aqua jogging.
Athletes are often reluctant to seek medical help for lower back pain, even though it can often be treated without any major disruption in the athlete’s workout schedule. They believe it will recover on its own. Many athletes deny or neglect the pain in order to avoid consequences such as missing a competition or being replaced in the team. To prevent being sidelined, some athletes turn to painkillers. The most common pain medications are Advil, Tylenol, Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and Aspirin. These painkillers only mask the symptoms temporarily, which can further lead to increased risk of injury. The painkiller medicines have additional harmful consequences such as addiction and harmful side effects.
Lower Back Pain Treatment-
Other than plenty of hydration, nutritious food, proper rest and targeted stretching, consider a topical analgesic pain relieving product like BioTemper. After a strenuous workout in the gym or long day out on the playfield the BioTemper pain relief product can provide quick relief to the aching muscles and joints. You can apply BioTemper cream, gel or spray directly onto the sore and stiff muscles and let it air dry. Applying BioTemper 4 times a day keeps you pain free. BioTemper Roll-On can be used to massage painful muscles and aching joints. The FAA compliant size of BioTemper Roll-on is great for individuals who want to keep up with their active lifestyles. They can carry the BioTemper while travelling or keep at work or in their gym bag.
The active ingredients found in BioTemper pain relief products are Menthol and Camphor. These ingredients provide quick relief from chronic pain and muscle aches using pain gate phenomenon and cold therapy. Inactive Ingredients included in BioTemper are Aloe Vera Oil, Arnica Flower Tincture, Boswella, Green tea Oil, Vitamin E and lavender oil. These ingredients make BioTemper an all-natural herbal blend that allows for immediate and long lasting pain relief. The BioTemper acts as a powerful anesthetic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory pain reliever which allows relief from chronic pain resulting from back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, neuropathy, sciatica, bursitis, and more.
BioTemper pain relief products can be used without the worry of addictive medications and toxic chemicals being applied to the skin. The pain relief products by BioTemper are 100% drug free with no reported side effects and are completely non-addictive.
Being active and healthy is an integral part of an athlete’s daily life. Sports injuries and subsequent lower back pain can be easily prevented with timely medical intervention, proper diet, good body mechanics and postural awareness. Being pain free should always be the goal in order to ensure timely return to the play field without increasing the risk of further injury.