Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, you’re likely to have a natural desire to get back in the game after a back injury. Actually achieving this goal will depend on your unique circumstances. However, there are some basic guidelines you’ll want to consider before seeking the go-ahead to return to sports.
How Severe Was Your Injury?
Before planning your return to the game, weigh your options based on the type of back injury you experienced. If you had Santa Monica spine surgery, you may need to either modify how you play or avoid contact sports altogether.
Are You Still in Top Form?
Having a back injury sometimes means taking a break from your exercise routine. If you’re not yet back in top form, you may want to consider working with a physical therapist or trainer to strengthen the columns of muscles that run along your spine (erector spinae) and other back-supporting muscle groups.
Do You Still Have Pain Triggers?
Even after a back injury has healed, there may still be movements that trigger pain. Think about the motions (rotating, bending, running, twisting) you’ll likely need to do for your preferred sport and determine if you can perform these motions without severe pain. If not, you may want to opt for less demanding sports or continue with physical therapy a while longer.
Most athletes of any skill level or ability can return to the game when:
- Pain is either completely gone or mild
- Normal range of motion has returned without any severe pain
- Endurance and strength have returned to pre-injury levels
Getting the okay to return to sports doesn’t mean you should forget about your back entirely. Wear the appropriate protective gear for your sport and make sure it fits correctly. If you take a hard hit or fall down, know when to take a time out. Don’t ignore any new or sudden discomfort. See a board-certified back surgeon in Santa Monica for sharp, severe, or worsening pain.
If you have experienced a serious back injury and think you might need the minimally invasive back surgery Santa Monica surgeons provide, get in touch with Dr. Hyun Bae at 310-828-7757. Dr. Bae and his team of expert surgeons at The Spine Institute can determine the most effective plan for treatment and let you know if and when it is safe to return to sports or other regular activities. Call today to schedule your in-person evaluation.