Common Sports-Related Spinal Injuries

This Blog Covers:

  • If you or someone you know enjoys the occasional touch or tackle football game, you may want to listen up!

  • It should go without saying, but sports, especially contact sports, increase the risk of injury to the cervical and lumbar spine (neck and low back).

  • In this blog, the spine specialists at American Spine explain some of the most common sports-related spinal injuries.

This is far from “new” news, but athletes and weekend warriors who play contact sports increase their risk of developing spinal injuries. You may be thinking, “yeah, no duh,” but what you may not realize is even minor injuries can cause long-lasting, damaging effects.

The spine is a vulnerable structure that can shut down a person’s normal level of functioning when damaged. That’s why it’s imperative patients take every spinal injury seriously and see a specialist immediately after they’ve sustained some kind of injury. Furthermore, some of the most common sport-related spinal injuries often require treatment from a spine surgeon or specialist.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 8% of spinal cord injuries occur from sports and recreational activities, which means sports rank 4th among all cases of spinal cord injuries. If you’ve ever wondered what sports or activities caused the most spinal cord injuries, check out the NSCISC’s 2015 data:

1. Diving (3.44%)

2. Winter Sports (0.83%)

3. Surfing (0.71%)

4. Horseback riding (0.50%)

5. Football (0.28%)

6. Trampoline (0.18%)

To review the full list, click on the link above. Vehicular accidents were the number of cause of spinal cord injury, which means if you enjoy riding a bike, motorcycle, or 4-wheeler on the weekends, make sure you’re wearing the necessary protective gear! The rate of injury skyrockets from 7% to almost 40% for those who utilize a motor vehicle.

Regardless, to lower your risk of developing a sports-related spinal injury, consider the following tips:

  • Stretch thoroughly before each game to increase flexibility and range of motion.

  • Wear or use the proper equipment to protect yourself from injury (i.e. helmet, protective pads, mouthguards, eyewear, etc.).

  • Drink plenty of fluid and stay hydrated to reduce the risk of heat-related injuries.

  • Know your body’s limitations and use the correct form for your sport.

  • Prepare for games by maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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Phone: (951) 734-7246


Phone: (951) 734-7246