Basketball and Neck and Spine Pain

March Madness is heating up and people in the Atlanta area are getting excited about the competition and all the fun that goes along with it.  After all, it’s hard not to get hyped up watching the best college basketball players in the country vie to reach the Final Four.  If you’re a basketball fan, the staff at Resurgens Spine Center hopes March Madness has inspired you to get on the court and play some ball.  Playing basketball is the perfect way to build cardiovascular endurance, agility, speed, and strength (and it’s a lot of fun too).  Unfortunately, any time you go hard playing sports, the potential exists for injuries.  If you’re planning on shooting some hoops this March, here are a few common neck and spine injuries to watch out for and seek treatment if it becomes necessary.

Neck and Back Strains

The best basketball players rely on their extreme agility to get down the court and fake out their opponents to get a chance at an open basket.  That means twisting, spinning, sudden stops, and basically doing whatever it takes.  While it’s truly amazing to watch your favorite baller perform these moves at the game, when you try to do the same moves, you could end up straining the muscles in your neck and back.  This happens when the muscles that support your spine get stretched beyond their limit, causing an injury.  Luckily, most muscle strains can be treated with ice, rest, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications.  Our advice: know your limits and don’t overdo it when you’re on the court.

Spinal Fractures

Basketball is one of the most intense and fast-paced sports out there.  Extreme bodily contortions, falls and awkward landings are bound to happen, and when they do, the vertebra in the spine can become fractured.  The lower back of basketball players is especially vulnerable to these types of injuries.  The good news is that if you sustain a minor spinal fracture, it can usually be treated non-surgically.  For more severe spinal fractures, a spine physician will determine the best course of treatment.

Herniated Discs

Your vertebral discs are like your spine’s own shock absorbers and when you play basketball, they’re working overtime.  Every step down the court, every jumper, and every rebound puts a lot of stress on your discs.  When they become over stressed, they can rupture, causing a herniated disc.  This condition can be extremely painful and can often be treated non-surgically with rest, anti-inflammatories, and hot/cold therapy.  Cortisone shots may also be used to control inflammation, and more severe cases may require surgery.

We’re not telling you about these injuries to scare you away from the basketball court; quite the contrary.  We love to see people in our community giving their all, whether they’re a college athlete or they’re just playing a pickup game in the driveway.  Basketball can be a great way to improve your physical condition but it’s important to be aware of the potential for injuries.  If you feel pain in your neck or back after playing, don’t ignore it!  Playing through the pain can make your injury even worse, so be sure to make an appointment with one of the physicians at Resurgens Spine Center any time you have concerns about your spine health.