Sports and Spine Pain and Conditions

Just about any sport can be associated with injuries of one type or another. Fortunately for sports enthusiasts, most of these injuries are relatively minor. However, as a center for spinal surgery in Beverly Hills, we work with many athletes and know that there are certain sports that do pose an increased risk of developing back and spine pain, especially after many years of active playing.

Contact Sports

Football is by far the top contact sport associated with many types of back and spine pain due to the nature of the game. A hard tackle, for instance, can result in a severe blow to the spine, especially if said tackle lands the player on their back. Similar injuries can result from soccer, rugby, lacrosse and any other game centered on constant physical contact with other players or the ground.


While gymnastics is all about precision, a misstep can result in an unintended spinal injury. Most back-related pain in gymnastics comes from muscle strains, fractures, ligament sprains and disc-related disorders. However, since most injuries from this sport are the result of weight-bearing stress on shoulders and joints, back pain is usually considered serious and should be addressed, even if it seems minor at first.

Other Sports

Here are a few other sports where spinal pain is common:

  • Tennis, golf and baseball

    Spine pain can come from repetitious movements (swinging a racket, hitting a ball, etc.) involving the spine, shoulders and neck.

  • High jumping and hurdling

    As with gymnastics, any deviation from proper form may result in back-related injuries.

  • Anything played occasionally

    Weekend athletes who may not be in game playing shape are especially susceptible to back and spine injuries from intense play.

Injuries from the above mentioned sports often involved damaged or compressed discs. If pain is constant or numbness is felt in other parts of the body such as the arms and legs, it is best to meet with a spinal specialist to determine the cause of the pain. While most cases can be treated with a combination of medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods, some will require decompression surgery.

The Future for Athletes with Spinal Pain

It’s estimated that about 5 to 10 percent of all injuries sustained by athletes affect the back. Treatment for athletes with back and spine pain varies based on factors such as age, location and duration of the pain, when the pain began, whether or not pain is related to any previous injuries within the spinal region and overall medical history.

Interested in learning more about how to treat your spinal pain? Reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae and his expert medical staff at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae is a conservative spinal surgeon and can help you determine the best options for eliminating or alleviating any pain in your neck or back. He also specializes in minimally invasive spinal procedures and leads clinical trials for revolutionary spinal procedures such as Mobi-C, an alternative to spinal fusion, which can help patients to return to their active lifestyles as soon as possible. Schedule an in-person consultation today by calling (310) 828-7757.