According to the US National Library of Medicine(NLM), most people suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. However, some people with a significantly higher risk of acute spinal injuries and back pain because of their lifestyle. If you are a footballer, you are more likely to sustain injuries and suffer pain in the lower back region due to a high physical activity level. Football places immense stresses on the body due to twisting, turning, bodily impacts, and absorption of pressure. Playing football can push even the fittest athlete to their limit, causing back injuries.
Although you exercise the whole spine when playing sports, the NLM study reveals that up to 10% of all sports-related injuries affect the spine’s lumbar (lower) region. Many lower back pain cases in athletes result from a specific event that caused trauma, while microtraumas from repetitive minor back injuries cause others.
Treatment for Back Pain in Footballers
Commonly, the treatment for back pain from football is conservative. Often, you may be able to manage your pain through non-surgical interventions that include: pain medication, exercise, and physical therapy.
We look at a range of exercises that can help soothe back pain from playing football.
1. Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is a critical component of any exercise program since it improves your circulation and boosts heart rate. Aerobic exercise helps relieve back pain by easing stiffness and boosting blood flow to the spine’s structures, increasing the nutrients that reach the backbone. What’s more, low-impact exercise is a way to gently elevate heart rate without straining the spine and worsening lumbar pain.
A routine of regular aerobic exercise is useful in alleviating neck and lower back pain in the following ways:
- Lowering the probability or severity of any potential flare-ups of back pain in the future
- Ensuring the spine stays mobile and functional, thereby limiting the disability caused by chronic pain. Failing to provide a painful back with regular mild exercise could worsen your functionality and mobility.
- Aerobic exercise helps to burn and maintain the optimal weight, thereby removing excess pressure on your injured spine.
- Exercises for back pain increases the production of endorphins in your body. These hormones are natural painkillers and can also improve your mood and help to relieve depression.
Typically, aerobic exercise to help soothe back pain from playing football should include 20-30 minutes of activity, 3 to 5 times a week. Severe pain may help to start with shorter intervals of 5-10 minutes, which are then gradually scaled up to a more intensive routine as the pain subsides. Trained physiotherapists in Singapore can help you to come up with an appropriate exercise regime.
2. Resistance Training Exercises
Most athletes concentrate on building up their core strength. However, resistance training that uses whole-body exercises instead of just the core muscles is a great alternative strategy for rehabilitating lower back pain. Resistance training involves making fluid movements that help you promote your body’s alignment and significantly reduce the risk of injury to your back.
Varying these exercises’ volume and intensity for back pain across sessions appears to be more effective in relieving pain than following a linear progression. Still, if you are suffering from back pain and want to start a successful rehabilitation program, a sports physiotherapist can help you establish how different exercises may affect your back and give you guidelines on how to conduct the exercises in a safe way.
Resistance training provides you with the following benefits if you are suffering from lower back pain:
- Weight maintenance: With increased muscle mass and high metabolic rate due to resistance training, it is easier for you to maintain healthy body weight if you need to take a break from playing to recover.
- Bone strength: This training mode helps you put some stress on the spine’s bones, stimulating their growth and increasing strength.
- Mood enhancement: Similar to aerobic exercise, resistance training raises endorphin levels to enhance your mood.
Strength, flexibility, mental focus, and endurance are essential benefits of yoga. They are necessary for the recovery of any physical injury and especially in the relief of back pain. Yoga is a proven and effective way for you to manage chronic lumbar pain and is even useful in rehabilitating players who have had back surgery – a standard procedure among athletes. The effectiveness of yoga in pain management is a crucial reason it has become popular in many sports. Here are some of the benefits of yoga in the control of back pain from playing football:
- Yoga provides you exercises for back pain, which are a gentle way to flex and stress-test the lower backbone and gives your physiotherapist an excellent way to gauge their progress.
- It increases your strength and endurance by enhancing lymphatic flow and circulation. By helping the muscles to process the byproducts of metabolism more rapidly, yoga speeds up regrowth and healing.
- Yoga promotes proper breathing practices, allowing better oxygen delivery to the entire body.
Work with a Qualified Sports Physiotherapist
Although lower back pain is treatable without causing a significant disruption to a person’s life, you might be hesitant to seek medical help. Many footballers minimize or deny their discomfort in a bid to avoid the consequences: being forced to reduce the intensity of training, losing their spot on a team, missing a competition, or feeling that they have let their teammates down. Others have an old-fashioned notion that they do not need to see a doctor for their pain; they believe that the problem might eventually subside on its own.
However, nobody understands sports-related lower back pain as your physical therapist does. If you are a football player, an experienced sports physiotherapist provides you with a range of techniques to help their rapid rehabilitation and prevent them from future back pain from football and injuries. They also look at your unique physiology to help them develop better techniques to prevent sports injuries and show you how you can speed up your recovery if injured.