Backpain Overview

Athletes May Suffer From Low Back Pain

Almost anyone and everyone can suffer from lower back pain but it is the athletes who are the most susceptible to the problem. Athletes are constantly engaged in physical activities that cause stress on the back. Though several problems pertaining to the lower back can occur as a result of repeated stress, Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis are the most common.

Spondylolisthesis
This condition refers to slipping of one of the vertebra in the vertebral column. While one of the vertebra slips ahead, the other vertebra remains in the same position causing a misaligned back. This results in back pain. Though any vertebra of the back can slip from its default position, the slippage usually happens at the LS-S1 level.

People who are involved in any kind of sport can develop Spondylolisthesis. However, it is gymnasts who are the most susceptible to the problem. This is because gymnastics put a great strain on the back which can lead to Spondylolisthesis. Other sports that come with a greater risk of this lower back problem include diving, weightlifting and football.

The extent of injury caused in this lower back pain is measured in grades. Here in, every grade denotes a slippage by 25 %. So for instance, if a person has been diagnosed with Grade 2 Spondylolisthesis, it denotes 50 % contact within the two adjacent vertebra. There are four major grades of Spondylolisthesis. While lower grade of the problem may be treated at home with simple stretching exercises and physical therapy, Spondylolisthesis in higher grades needs surgery.

Spondylolysis
This is yet another common lower back pain problem experienced by most athletes. Put simply, Spondylolysis refers to an overuse injury. When the pars in the back is subjected to repeated stress, it causes a fracture. Pars is an area of bone in the facet joint, where two adjoining vertebra meet. This part in the vertebral column is quite weak and small and is susceptible to injury.

Most competitive sports run the risk of Spondylolysis. Soccer, gymnastics, dance, football etc are some sports that cause the forward flexing of the spine. This repeatedly induces mechanical stress in the back. As a result, Spondylolysis is developed.

People who are suffering from Spondylolysis deal with acute lower back pain. This pain worsens with activity. Lower back pain may also be accompanied with tightening of the hamstring muscles.

Most cases of Spondylolysis may be treated with physical therapy alone. In addition, a brace may be recommended to strengthen the muscles. However, there are some stubborn cases of the problem that may not be treated by physical therapy alone. In such cases, electric stimulation may be required. The most severe cases of the problem demand a surgery.