Up to 20% of all injuries that occur in sportsinvolve an injury to the lower back or neck.

1. Lower Back Injury

    • The lower back is subject to a great deal of strain in many sports. Sports that use repetitive impact (e.g., running), a twisting motion (e.g. golf), or weight loading at the end of a range-of-motion (e.g., weightlifting) commonly cause damage to the lower back.

2. Neck Injury

    • The neck is most commonly injured in sports that involve contact (e.g., football), which place the cervical spine (neck) at risk of injury.

3. Upper Back Injury

    • The thoracic spine (mid portion of the spine at the level of the rib cage) is less likely to be injured because it is relatively immobile and has extra support. Injuries seen here can involve rib fracture and intercostal neuralgia as well as intercostal muscle strains in sports that involve rotation of the torso (e.g. weight training with rotation), swimming, golf, tennis, and even skiing.

You should always warm-up before playing any sport to prepare the back for the stresses to come and target the muscles you will be using. Though the warm-up should be specific to the sport to be played, a typical warm-up should include:

  • Increase circulation gradually by doing some easy movement (such as walking) to increase blood circulation to the muscles and ligaments of the back
  • Stretch the lower and upper back and related muscles, including hamstrings and quadriceps
  • Start slowly with the sport movements (e.g. swing the golf club, serve the ball)

Sports Injuries

Up to 20% of all injuries that occur in sports involve an injury to the lower back or neck.