Low Back Pain and Young Athletes

Many young athletes experience lower back pain that stems from a variety of reasons. As a center for back surgery in Santa Monica, we strongly encourage both coaches and parents to educate young athletes on the causes of lumbar injuries and how to prevent them to avoid unnecessary pain and possible damage to the muscles and spinal column.

Causes of Lower Lumbar Pain

Frequently, sports injuries are due to a lack of proper conditioning in the young athlete. Skipping the warm-up before a vigorous burst of activity can cause unprepared muscles in the lower back to easily suffer from small tears that result in pain. In addition, lower lumbar muscles that have undergone trauma, but have not been allowed to heal, cause the area that is already damaged to continue to endure chronic stress. When lower back muscles continue to take a beating from activity and are not given a chance to recover, the result is an incidence of chronic muscle damage and back pain in the youth.

Young athletes also suffer from back pain due to blunt trauma in the region. If an athlete ignores the pain and continues to participate in activities, damaged muscles that are no longer giving adequate support to the spinal column may allow more serious injuries to occur to the vertebrae. When this is the case, treatments ranging from physical therapy and acupuncture to decompression surgery and artificial disc replacement could be necessary.

Preventing Low Back Pain

The key to preventing low back pain in young athletes is proper conditioning and education. Youth should be taught that warming-up is necessary because it increases blood flow to the muscles and develops flexibility, which prepares the body for activity. Conditioning is also an important part of training that strengthens the body’s core, or abdominal and lumbar region. Therefore, encouraging participation in exercises that fortify the core – such as weight training and aerobic activity – provide a sturdy support system that helps prevent lower back injuries.

If you are a young athlete or the parent of an athlete and are living with pain in the lower back that makes participating in sports painful or strenuous, schedule an in-person consultation with one of the board-certified physicians at the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration in Santa Monica. It is our goal to help patients of all ages enjoys a lifestyle without pain and discomfort. Call (310) 828-7757 to speak with us today.