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4 Facts About Lower Back Injuries Every Athlete Needs To Know

4 Facts About Lower Back Injuries Every Athlete Needs To Know

It does not matter what sports they participate in; lower back injuries are common among athletes and can significantly impact their ability to participate and perform. Lower back injuries can range from acute, such as ligament sprains and muscle strains, to chronic conditions resulting from overuse and repetitive motions.

Most often, athletes engaged in high-impact sports involving sudden movements, bending, and twisting are prone to lower back issues. However, it is not just professional athletes who suffer from these injuries. In fact, even occasional gym goers face a heightened risk of lower back injuries. Factors such as muscle imbalances, insufficient core strength, and poor lifting postures all increase their risk of injuring their lower back.

Managing lower back injuries involves a holistic approach that addresses both psychological and physical recovery and rehabilitation. An effective treatment plan focuses on more than relieving pain. It involves restoring mobility and strengthening the lower back to prevent future injuries.

In this article, we will dive into 4 facts about lower back injuries that every athlete should know.

1. High load does not mean higher risk of lower back injuries

Traditionally, high physical loads such as prolonged postures, frequent bending, and heavy lifting were believed to have a direct correlation with a higher risk of lower back injuries. However, studies have shown that the relationship between the two is not as straightforward as many assumed. In fact, it is a common misconception regarding back pains.

Our bodies are highly adaptable and can condition themselves to handle high physical loads through progression and training. Athletes train regularly so that their bodies can handle higher physical loads. This progressive process changes their physiological state, enhancing the resilience and strength of their ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

The variability of the load also plays a vital role in the risk of developing lower back injuries. Constant exposure to the same physical stresses without ensuring enough variation or recovery can do more harm than high physical loads. Hence, ensuring a diverse range of physical activities and adequate rest can help mitigate the risk of developing lower back injuries.

2. Reduce activity only when necessary, but avoid stopping completely

As mentioned earlier, adequate rest in between exercise routines can help to prevent the development of lower back injuries. However, if you are already experiencing lower pain, it is generally recommended to adjust the level of activity based on your overall condition and pain level rather than stopping completely.

It is a natural response to avoid movement and rest completely to avoid aggravating the pain. While this approach can provide temporary relief, it is only a short-term solution. In fact, prolonged rest can lead to reduced joint mobility, weakening and muscle stiffness, which can worsen the pain, prolong your recovery process.

Hence, rather than stopping all activities completely, adapting and reducing the intensity of your activities helps to maintain function. Additionally, continuing to engage in moderate, regular exercises within acceptable levels of pain can improve your physical state, enhance your mood and reducing your risk of developing chronic conditions often associated with inactivity.

3. Aim for resilience rather than solely focusing on strength

When suffering from lower back injuries and pain, modifying your exercises accordingly can provide more benefits than harm. The focus of such exercises should be on building resilience rather than solely on strength. Resilience in this context refers to your body’s ability to recover from, adapt to, and withstand stressors without developing injuries. While strength is a vital aspect of the health of your musculoskeletal system, resilience involves a complete spectrum of your psychological and physical state.

Physical resilience involves building proper functioning, endurance, and flexibility of your musculoskeletal system. A resilient lower back is able to endure greater loads during various daily activities. Hence, a balanced exercise programme that involves aerobic conditioning, flexibility routines, core stability exercises, and strength training is essential.

4. Return to sport as a continuum, rather than a one-time decision

The idea of returning to sport after suffering from a lower back injury has gradually been recognised as a continuum rather than a one-time decision. This perspective acknowledges that recovering from a lower back injury is a process that involves several progressive stages rather than simply returning to physical activities after achieving a complete recovery.

This brings us back to the second point of reducing activities instead of stopping completely. There are 5 stages of returning to the sport as a continuum:

  • Acute recovery: In this stage, the focus should be on managing the inflammation and pain while protecting the affected region. Chiropractic care is ideal at this stage as it can promote healing without aggravating the injury.
  • Functional rehabilitation: This stage will begin to involve basic exercises that target the restoration of coordination, endurance, flexibility, and strength. The aim of functional rehabilitation is to restore the necessary physical capabilities that you needed for your sport.
  • Sport-specific training: Once your basic capabilities have been restored, you can begin on more specific training. This stage involve exercises and drills that simulate the required physical demands of your sport, as well as progressive training to prepare your body
  • Progressive reintegration into sport: In this stage, you will slowly reintegrate into proper training and competitive sessions. Initially, limited involvement and participation may be necessary, with a gradual increase in intensity and duration as your capability and confidence grow.
  • Complete return to sport: In this final stage, you are capable of reaching pre-injury performance levels and full participation in your sport.

We would like to emphasise that chiropractic care is not a one-off solution. In fact,  incorporating regular chiropractic care throughout your recovery process ensures a more holistic approach to recovery.”


Chiropractic care provides holistic and effective treatment for lower back pain. Here at Healing Hands Chiropractic, we offer more than just pain relief; we educate you on managing and mitigate the risk of developing further lower back injuries. We believe in holistic care involves finding a long-term solution, such as lifestyle modification, ergonomics, exercises, nutrition, and even corporate wellness program for businesses. Do not live with lower back pain. Contact us to experience a pain-free lifestyle!



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