Tennis Anyone? Spine Safety Tips to Help Keep You Out on The Court.
Tennis is one of my favorite ways to stay active and is incredibly popular all around metro Atlanta. I love to see so many people out on the courts being active and working hard to improve their physical fitness. While tennis can be great exercise and a lot of fun, it's definitely a sport that puts a lot of stress on the spine and back muscles. I know those sudden stops, spine-twisting saves, and powerful serves are all part of the game but they can also be hard on your back. Here are some tips to help you protect your neck and back from injuries while you are out on the court.
Always do a Proper Warm Up
As is the case when playing any sport, a good stretching program helps to warm up the muscles and joints so they'll be more flexible during play. Without a proper warm-up, you're more likely to experience injuries like muscle strains and joint sprains that could have you sitting out the tennis season. For best results, consult your doctor, physical therapist or athletic trainer to develop a warm-up routine with specific stretches for before and after your tennis game.
Pay Attention to Your Serve
The serving motion in tennis causes you to hyperextend the lower back muscles and compress the lumbar discs of your spine. That means every serve creates the potential for serious injuries. A coach can be an excellent resource to help you find the right form for your serve, one that will give you the power you want while still protecting your spine.
Hard Court or Soft Court?
The type of court on which you play can have a big impact (literally) on how much punishment your spine will take during play. Not only do hard courts absorb less shock, they also ratchet up the speed of the game, requiring greater agility for the player to keep up. Soft courts, on the other hand, are able to absorb some of the stress that occurs during sudden stops, sudden starts, and jumps. In addition, a soft surface like clay or grass slows down the speed of the ball, giving you more time to react and position your body appropriately to avoid injuries. While they are less common than hard courts, soft courts can be ideal for those who want to play a more leisurely game of tennis that protects their spine from injury.
Whether you are a tennis pro or playing with friends, I hope these tips help keep you out on the courts this summer. If you experience neck or back pain that won't go away, the physicians at Resurgens Spine Center are here to help diagnose you and provide a treatment plan that gets you back to playing the game you love.