Sports Injuries: When to Call the Doctor

Seeing the Doctor for Sports Related Back Pain

Some sports injuries require little more than a bandage, a bit of rest and relaxation, and an ice pack before the next game. However, there are times when it’s best to have a doctor assess the situation to determine if the initial injury isn’t more serious than it may appear. So, when it is time to call the doctor? The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration offers some insight into a few of the most common sports-related injuries that should be looked into by a doctor.

Acute Injuries

Acute sports injuries are injuries that present noticeable symptoms immediately after the injury occurs, such as lingering pain, swelling, bruising, numbness or shooting pain. Cuts, scrapes and bruises, while sometimes acute, should be evaluated to determine the severity before seeing a doctor. Acute injuries include:

  • Sprains and muscle strains
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Pinched nerves

Overuse Injuries

Sports injuries related to overuse tend to include pain that recurs and gets progressively worse while engaging in a particular sport. Symptoms such as localized swelling or muscle tightness may show up several hours (or days) after playing an intense game or suddenly appear while playing again. Overuse injuries include:

  • Shin splints
  • Stress fractures
  • Back pain
  • “Little League elbow”

Concussions/Head Injuries

A blow to the head while engaging in any type of sport, even when a helmet was worn during the impact, should be taken seriously. It’s important to understand that, even after an initial evaluation from a doctor, additional symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, vomiting or loss of memory can show up later. If any additional symptoms show up, see a doctor immediately for further evaluation.

Talking to a Professional

When it comes to sports injuries, it’s best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor if the injury is accompanied by unusual symptoms you don’t usually experience. If you are an athlete or know an athlete who is suffering from chronic back pain, a pinched nerve or another related spinal injury, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757. While we are offer conservative treatments for spine injuries, we also provide minimally invasive spine surgery and advanced treatments including artificial disc replacement, stem cell regeneration and spinal cord stimulation.