Spring’s just around the corner and if you’ve got kids, you’ll probably be gearing up for a busy team sports season. And while we tend to think of youngsters as made of an unknown variety of durable rubber, the truth is that they’re vulnerable to injury.
One of the key areas they’re likely to hurt themselves is the back, so this post is to bring parents up to speed about common back problems in younger athletes. Forewarned is forearmed, so read on!
Ouch! Low Back Pain
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common back problems in younger athletes. In fact, overall, 30% of athletes will have back pain during their careers.
Most injuries to the back in young athletes affect the bone and muscle, with stress fractures leading the field. The second most common type of injury to the back in junior sports is a lower back muscle strain.
Because much of the power needed in sports derives from the muscles of the lower back, overuse injuries can be a problem. Injuries are also very common in this part of the body, resulting from falls and force being exerted suddenly and excessively.
Football, dance and gymnastics represent a higher risk than others sports/athletic activities, with the lower back highly susceptible to overuse and resulting pain.
The good news for young athletes is that their bodies are, indeed, apt to heal much more quickly and thoroughly than the bodies of older athletes.
While lower back stress fractures may take up to 3 months to heal (like any other bone injury), the prognosis for these is usually good. With the assistance of imaging, we can readily see the progress of healing and advise treatment and therapy moving forward with accuracy.
Lower back injuries implicating the muscles are usually responded to by movement therapies like stretching and strengthening. Along the way, ice, heat and short-term drug therapy may be applied.
Injuries to the muscles will require the support of a physical therapist to guide recovery and to ensure that such recovery is total. Sports medicine professionals are also trained to help with this type of rehabilitative work.
We know it’s hard for younger athletes to rest. They want to get back out there. It’s up to parents to ensure that they don’t do so until their injuries have completely healed. This reduces the risk of reinjury. For all types of injuries, regardless of age, patients are closely monitored to ensure that they’re ready to return to the demanding world of sports. Taking your doctor’s advice in this regard will help your young athlete maintain condition, performance and the physical integrity required for both.
Back & Body Medical
The multi-disciplinarian pain relief model practiced at our Manhattan facility is now available to patients here in New Jersey. We’re a team practicing chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy and sports medicine, creating exemplary, individualized programs of care that work.
If your young athlete has been injured, we’re the source for total rehabilitation. Contact us.