If you play hockey, you definitely know muscles, bones, and joints can take quite a bit of punishment from all the jostling and knocking around that occurs during a typical game. Though head, leg, and shoulder injuries are more common in hockey, the spine is also susceptible to injuries, some of which are preventable if you take the right precautions. The staff at The Spine Institute in Beverly Hills discusses a few of the preventive measures you can take.
Do Muscle Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Lower back pain, muscle strain, disc herniation, and vertebral stress fractures (spondylolysis) are the most common back-related injuries in hockey. The need to make quick shots and blocks can really stretch and pull the muscles supporting your spine. Minimize the risk of injury with stretching exercises such as:
- Extended leg reaches and other hamstring stretches
- Knee lifts and holds to work the psoas and other hip flexors
- Side crunches and opposite arm and leg rises to work abdominal muscles
- Squats and lunges to work gluteal muscles
Make Healthy Dietary Choices
Keep the bones and tissues supporting your spine healthy between games by maintaining a balanced diet. Nutrient-rich options include fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats like those found in fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Whether you prefer ice or street hockey, there’s a lot of movement involved, which can quickly lead to dehydration. During breaks, sip water and strive to have at least eight glasses total per day when not playing to keep the spongy discs between your vertebrae and spine and joint tissues healthy.
Take a time out if you experience a hard hit or fall while in the game, especially if you have sudden or sharp pain. Pay attention to any back pain that develops gradually or is accompanied by numbness and tingling sensations extending from the lower back to your hips, buttocks, and legs along the sciatic nerve.
If you have injured your back while playing hockey or another sport, you may need to explore options for surgery or other treatments. At The Spine Institute Center, we specialize in the spinal fusion, decompression, and lumbar disc replacement Beverly Hills patients claim has alleviated their pain. Give us a call today at 310-828-7757 to learn more and schedule an in-person evaluation.