Sports or any physical activities are likely to cause injuries sometimes. Most sports injuries are minor and resolve in a few days on their own. Serious sports injuries can cause back and neck pain that never seems to fully resolve. Back pain from injuries can become a recurring issue unless the situation is addressed.
Common Sports Injuries
Sports injuries to the back and neck that are most common can be divided into three categories. Lower back injuries usually result from twisting motions, like a golf swing. Lifting or bearing weight during competition can also cause a lower back injury, as can the repetitive impact of running, especially on a hard surface.
Neck injuries from sports occur most often when you exceed your natural range of motion. There is usually some sort of contact involved in a sports neck injury, like in football or an unintended collision during some other sport.
Sports injuries to the upper back are less common because this portion of the back that is attached to the ribs does not move much. It is also supported by the ribs and other structures around the thoracic cavity. It is possible to strain the small muscles between the ribs or fracture a rib, especially in contact sports.
Back Pain From Injuries
A sports injury can cause back pain at the time of the injury primarily due to inflammation. The spinal cord runs through the middle of the spine, and everything fits in rather well. When the muscles start to swell because of the injury, nerves can be pinched as the small free spaces are closed up.
Back injuries can cause instability in the spine as well. A cracked or chipped vertebrae or a disc that is moved out of place or damaged will not function properly in the spinal structure. Instability in the spine can lead to further damage and future pain. When the vertebrae or discs can move out of place, there is the potential for them to put pressure on nerves, and that is where the pain comes from.
The pain from a broken vertebra resting on a nerve may resolve in time, but the problem can recur under the right conditions. Back pain from injuries can become intermittent and then chronic.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
Back pain from sports injuries can often be relieved with a minimally invasive procedure. Most sports injuries result in a slipped or ruptured disc in the lumbar or cervical spine. Some involve a broken vertebra and instability in the spine.
These types of injuries can cause chronic pain. When the inflammation from the initial injury subsides, there may be some relief. Any time the disc or vertebrae move around again, though, the pain can recur. Without repair, this type of injury can be a source of chronic pain and limited mobility.
Many sports-related back injuries can be repaired with little downtime. Back surgery is no longer the only alternative to chronic back pain. There are many procedures that can be done to repair injured discs and vertebrae without a long hospital stay and months of rehab.
Contact NJ Spine & Orthopedic to learn more about treatment options for sports back and neck injuries.