Staying active is generally a good thing for your overall health. If one of your preferred activities happens to be ice skating, you may find yourself experiencing an unexpected injury to your spine. Looking at the back injuries common among ice skaters can give you an idea of what you can do to minimize your risk of sustaining a similar injury and prevent the need for spine surgery in Santa Monica.
1. Lower Back Strain
The lower (lumbar) spine is made up of a complex series of muscles, joints that are highly vulnerable. It’s also your lower back that moves the most to perform the motions required to skate on ice. Consequently, these muscles may become strained from overuse.
2. Herniated Discs
The discs that support your spine are susceptible to injury from added strain. If the inner material of one of these discs pushes outward as you complete your axel on the ice, you may experience pain from the resulting nerve root compression.
3. Slipped Discs
A hard impact or sudden twist while skating may push one disc forward against the adjacent one (spondylolisthesis). Slipped discs often result from an existing fracture that is eventually extensive enough to cause a vertebra to fall out of place.
4. Spinal Fractures
A common injury among competitive figure skaters, spinal fractures (spondylosis) can occur from overuse or the overextension of muscles and joints in the spine. Sudden stops and falls on the ice can further aggravate fractures.
5. Sciatic Nerve Pain
If a disc ruptures from a skating-related injury, it may press on the longest single nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve. Because this nerve runs from the lower spine to the legs, it’s also in a prime location to be affected by the falling and jostling that sometimes accompanies ice skating.
Reduce your risk of injury by keeping your back muscles strong with regular exercise between trips to the ice rink. Do some quick stretches prior to taking to the ice. Don’t attempt complicated tricks unless you know what you’re doing, pay attention to form as you skate, and don’t ignore any sudden or lingering pain.
If you’ve injured your spine due to an ice skating-related incident and need a lumbar laminectomy, interbody fusion, or another form of spine surgery, get in touch with Dr. Hyun Bae at The Spine Institute today. Start down the path to a pain-free life by calling 310-828-7757 and scheduling an appointment.