Disease, Illness & ConditionsOral HealthAches & PainsInjuriesChildren's HealthEye CareFirst AidAlternative MedicineWellnessMental HealthOlder AdultsDisabilitiesHealth Care IndustryReproductive Health

The Most Common Back Injuries in the Fitness Field

Updated on December 18, 2016
modo2000 profile image

Mahmoud Elboraey, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Sports Science.

1-Ruptured Disk (Herniated or Slipped Disk)

A herniated disk is when the lining of an inter-vertebral disk herniates or ruptures and its contents are extruding, either ventrally (not very frequent) or dorsally (most common). A slipped disk is a sudden or gradual break in the supportive ligaments surrounding a spinal disk, causing it to protrude, thus producing pressure upon spinal nerves resulting in low back pain and often sciatic pain (pain in the back of the leg).

Signs & Symptoms:

In the lower hack:

  • Severe pain in the lower back or in the back of one leg, buttock or foot, or both (Sciatica). Pain usually affects one side and worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing, lifting or straining.
  • Weakness, numbness or muscular wasting of the affected leg.

In the neck:

  • Pain in the neck or shoulder or down one arm. Pain worsens with movement.
  • Weakness, numbness or muscular wasting of the affected arm.

Possible Causes & Risk Factors:

  • Weakening and rupture of the disk material, creating pressure on nearby spinal nerves. Rupture of the disk is caused by sudden injury or chronic stress, such as from constant lifting or obesity.
  • Excessive downward pressure or weight-bearing twisting of the neck or spine.
  • Poor muscle conditioning and/or inadequate warm-up.
  • The family history of low back pain or disk disorders. Genetic factors apparently play a poorly understood role in increasing the risk.
  • Pre-existing spondylolisthesis (forward displacement of a lumbar vertebra on the one below it, especially L5 on S1, producing pain by compressing the nerve roots).

Prevention Methods:

  • Proper warm-up.
  • Practice proper lifting posture and technique.
  • Maintain good muscle tone and muscle balance around the spine (Anterior, Posterior, and Lateral Core Muscles).
  • If previously injured, avoid any vigorous physical activity that requires twisting of the body under uncontrollable conditions.
  • Do not perform any weight-bearing activities.

Preliminary Care & Treatment:

  • At the first signs of pain, apply RICE* and eliminate any exercise(s) that might have triggered it.
  • At the first signs of low back pain, lie supine on a hard surface with knees bent until the pain subsides.
  • If a ruptured disk is suspected, do not move patient unless his or her life is at risk. Don’t twist the back, neck or head and activate emergency protocol immediately. Support the whole back and neck with splints of some sort or spine board.

Resuming Activity:

  • Follow physician’s guidelines for resuming activity
  • Depending on the area of injury, begin rehabilitation exercises after clearance from physician (Rehabilitation requires the expertise of a physiotherapist and/or a fitness therapist)
  • Resume normal activities when symptoms improve or after recovery from Surgery (Requires a medical clearance from the physician to resume exercise).

Source

2-Low Back Sprain (Mechanical low back pain)

Mechanical low back pain is characterized by a violent overstretching of one or more ligaments in the lumbo-dorsal vertebrae of the spine. This is the most stable section of the vertebral column. Sprains involving two or more ligaments cause considerably more disability than single-ligament sprains. When the ligament is overstretched, it becomes tense and gives way at its weakest point, either where it attaches to bone or within the ligament itself. If the ligament pulls loose a fragment of bone, it is called an avulsion fracture.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Severe pain at the time of injury.
  • Popping or feeling of tearing in the back.
  • Tenderness at the injury site.
  • Swelling in the back.
  • Bruising that appears soon after injury.

Posible Causes & Risk Factors:

  • Stress on a ligament that then forces the lumbo-dorsal vertebrae out of their normal location. A sprain of the lumbo-dorsal vertebrae will frequently occur when a stressful act is performed, while a person is off balance or mal-positioned or during repeated stressful activities involving muscles in the lumbo-dorsal area.
  • Forceful throwing and lifting exercises with improper speed and/or improper control.
  • Previous spinal injury.
  • Obesity.
  • Poor muscle conditioning.

Prevention Methods:

  • Proper warm-up.
  • Practice proper lifting posture and technique.
  • Maintain good muscle tone and muscle balance around the spine (abdominal and back muscles).
  • Use appropriate support and/or wrapping if you are susceptible to mechanical low back pain.
  • Do not perform weight-bearing activities.

Preliminary Care & Treatment:

  • At the first signs of pain, apply RICE* and eliminate exercise(s) that might have triggered it.
  • At the first signs of low back pain, lie supine on a hard surface with knees bent until the pain subsides.
  • Continue using an ice pack 3 or 4 times per day.
  • Wrap the injured area from the top of the hip to the lower ribcage with an elasticized bandage between ice treatments
  • After 72 hours apply heat instead of ice if it feels better.
  • Take whirlpool treatments if available
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling

Resuming Activity:

  • Follow physician’s guidelines for resuming activity
  • Begin daily rehabilitation exercises when the cast or supportive wrapping is no longer necessary (ROM, Flexibility, strength). Rehabilitation requires the help of a physiotherapist or experienced fitness therapist.
  • Use ice massage for 10 minutes before and after exercise.
  • Resume normal activities when symptoms subside after clearance from the physician.

3-Lower Back (Lumbar) Strain

Lower back strain is usually the tendons that attach to the vertebral column at the lumbar spine. Muscles tendons and their attached vertebrae comprise contractile units. These units stabilize the spine and allow its motion. A strain occurs at the weakest point of the unit.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Pain with motion or stretching of the lower back muscles.
  • Muscle spasm in the lower back.
  • Swelling along the muscles of the back
  • Calcification of the muscles or tendons (visible with X-ray)

Posible Causes & Risk Factors:

  • Prolonged overuse of muscles/tendons units in the lower back.
  • Single violent injury or force applied to the lower back.
  • Improper lifting of heavy objects.
  • Obesity
  • Previous back injury especially if it resulted in the loss of back mobility.
  • Poor muscle conditioning .ac mobility

Prevention Methods:

  • Proper warm-up.
  • Practice proper lifting posture and technique.
  • Maintain good muscle tone and muscle balance around the spine (abdominal and back muscles)
  • Use appropriate support and/or wrapping if you susceptible to lower back strains.
  • Do not perform weight-baring activities.

Preliminary Care & Treatment:

  • At the first signs of pain, apply RICE* and eliminate exercise(s) that might have triggered it.
  • At the first signs of low back pain, lie supine on a hard surface with knees bent until pain subside.
  • Use ice massage* 3 or 4 times per day for 15 minutes at a time.
  • Bed rest on a firm mattress is advised for a few days until symptoms subside
  • After 72 hours, apply heat instead of ice if it feels better.
  • Take whirlpool treatments if available.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Resuming Activity:

  • Follow physicians guidelines for resuming activity.
  • Begin daily rehabilitation exercises when the cast or supportive wrapping is no longer necessary (ROM, Flexibility, strength). Rehabilitation requires the help of a physiotherapist or experienced fitness therapist
  • Use ice massage for 10 minutes before and after exercises.
  • Resume normal activities when symptoms subside (after clearance from physician)

* RICE: (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

R.I.C.E. is an acronym for the most important elements in first aid for many common injuries. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Use the word RICE to refresh your memory whenever you are faced with such injuries as contusions, sprains, strains, swelling, dislocations, and/or uncomplicated fractures.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.