Ways to prevent a spinal cord injury
All athletes, from professional ones to casual weekenders are at risk of a back or neck injury. Excessive strain, especially on the lower back or lumbar spine, is generally common for athletes and might possibly lead to instances of back pain, and in some cases severe. While it’s virtually impossible to completely prevent any medical condition from afflicting you, here are some tips to keep your spine healthy!
Warm up and stretch
A proper warm-up with stretching exercises can increase blood circulation and improve the flexibility of muscles and ligaments. This not only helps enhance athletic performance, it can prevent injuries as well. To stretch properly, follow these tips:
- Stretch slowly and gently only to the point of mild tension
- Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds – don’t bounce!
- Stretch for the same amount of time on each part of the body
- Stretch after your game as well to relieve sore or tight muscles
Reduce the chance of injury by using the right equipment
All sports have the risk of injury. Some more than others. In general, the more contact in a sport, the more risk of injury. To reduce the risk of injury to the spine, wear protective equipment appropriate for their sport such as neck rolls and shoulder pads. Well-constructed and supportive shoes are also a must!
Don’t overdo it
Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs), such as tennis elbow, bursitis, and tendonitis, occur when movements are repeated over and over again causing damage to various parts of the body. To avoid overuse injuries, take rest periods during practice sessions and games. It’s also important to make sure you’re using the correct form and techniques in your sport. Lastly, try ‘cross-training’ with various sports and activities to reduce the strain upon individual muscle groups and areas of your body.
Start a healthy regime
A visit to your physician at least once a year will go a long way in helping to prevent problems before they get too serious. If you have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. An important thing to always remember is to be aware of the steps and precautions needed to be taken in order to significantly reduce the risk of a spinal cord injury!