Few things are more frustrating than lower back pain for athletes. When you are used to being top of your game, a new ache or pain can be concerning. Chronic low back pain in athletes can be even more upsetting.
You may wonder if your lower back pain will require surgery to correct, but in many cases, it is not. Surgery should be seen as a last resort or carefully prescribed treatment, once other treatments have been ruled unsuccessful.
Here are 8 ways to treat lower back pain in athletes before surgery should be on the table.
See your doctor
If you are having lower back pain, see your doctor. Only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose what may be causing your discomfort and make recommendations based on your risk factors and condition.
For the best advice about the causes and prevention of low back pain in young athletes or lower back pain in adolescent athletes, you might see a pediatrician or sports medicine expert. A spine expert like Dr. Baig can treat children and adolescents too.
Follow their directions
After you have seen the doctor for lower back pain, athletes, follow their guidance. Your doctor can help with a variety of conditions, such as a herniated disc, spinal fractures, or a soft-tissue injury, but only if you follow the game plan. Dr. Baig feels strongly about a conservative treatment approach, with surgery as an option if other treatments don’t work.
Take a time-out
Often, rest is the best way to treat lower back pain. While missing training or games can be upsetting, restoring your back to full form will help in the long run. For lower back pain in teenage athletes treatment often starts with a few days of downtime.
Try ice and heat
Some back injuries respond well to heat, and others need ice. Your doctor’s recommendations will help you to know which might bring you the most relief. As we’ve said in our blog, ice is generally better than heat for back pain that may be caused by an acute injury, and heat may work better than ice for chronic back pain.
Practice careful stretching
While it may be surprising, careful and correctly performed stretching can be very helpful for some lower back pain. Spine Health explains, “Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine is an important element of all back exercise programs. Stretches designed to alleviate neck and back pain are likely to be prescribed by a doctor, physical therapist, or spine specialist.”
See our suggestions for stretches that would help lower back pain in athletes.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain muscle strength depending on the prevalence of your low back pain. Like your doctor, it’s important to follow the physical therapist’s recommendations carefully, and to do your “homework.” Physical Therapy can be a great way to get you back on the field.
Pain medication (if recommended)
If your doctor recommends pain medication, then you’ll want to closely follow those instructions. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are often helpful for lower back pain. Sometimes a doctor may recommend a muscle relaxer or a similar medication.
There is good reason to be concerned about pain medication, so discuss this with your doctor. You may also want to try natural remedies that will help reduce inflammation. In our blog on back pain management, we say that you might “try boiling ginger root in hot water for a soothing and anti-inflammatory cup of tea, or try some capsaicin or CBD in your favorite cream or salve.”
If all of the above have failed to bring relief to lower back pain in athletes, a doctor may Book a consultation – contact the experts as Desert Spine and Scoliosis today.recommend an injection of a corticosteroid or other medication.
It is most likely that your doctor will recommend some combination of these treatments to get your lower back pain under control. Unless they find a severe or traumatic injury, it may be very possible to treat lower back pain in athletes without surgery.