Image denoting a person with back pain

Low back pain is one of the most prevalent complaints of athletes at all levels of competition.

Injuries encountered to the lower back in athletes occur from either an acute traumatic event or repetitive trauma resulting in an overuse injury and are commonly seen in individuals participating in sports such as football, rugby, basketball, golf and athletics. Overuse injury can be a result of repeated flexion, extension and torsion which is performed frequently in sports such as gymnastics, dancing, tennis and golf.

Most common causes of low back pain to athletes are: fractures, acute disc herniations, muscular contusions and strain and facet joint irritation.

Our assessment will begin with history of pain and the relation with sport activity.

Location of the pain in relation with body position and functional movements.

In assessment, we include clinical examination of the entire kinetic chain of the spine, by assessing the posture, mobility and also using some specific musculoskeletal and neurological testing.

Imaging may be required for further diagnosis and will be requested by our Physiotherapists.

  • Evidence-based treatment/management required

Most patients will improve with non-operative treatment. Depending on the nature of the injury, our main goals for treatment would be:

  1. Identifying possible causes for example poor biomechanics
  2. Pain education and management
  3. Restore full range of motion and pain-free movement
  4. Achieve optimal flexibility and strength
  5. Maintain cardiovascular fitness
  • Return to play and activity

Before the athlete returns to their sport it is important they meet the criteria required in terms of reaching full range of motion and relevant strength needed. They may require some training modifications initially.

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