Football Players, Watch Your Back: Common Athlete Injuries

Football Players, Watch Your Back: Common Athlete Injuries

Posted By Georgia Accident Rehab Centers || 26-Sep-2019

The NFL’s 2017 and 2018 Defensive Player of the Year, Los Angeles Rams’ DT Aaron Donald, may be feeling the price of his success. After sustaining an injury during the Rams Sept. 15th game vs. the Saints, Donald had to take it easy during practice to avoid exacerbating his back. Another ex-player, Andrew Luck, retired at age 29 after tiring of the repeated pain and mental hardship he faced enduring multiple injuries over the past four years.

Many football players know the excruciation of having to take time off to recover after an injury when they would rather be on the field. But coaches and trainers are right: trying to “play through” the pain can make things worse. When it comes to addressing back injuries like Aaron Donald’s, the NFL may bring in a specialist: Since 2012, all teams in the NFL have employed a sports chiropractor to assist with player recovery.

Regular Chiropractic Treatment Can Improve Player Performance

Visiting a chiropractor when you’re experiencing back pain may be a no-brainer, but regular treatment might do more than just help players recover from the intense strain put on their back and neck. Everything in the body is connecting—and athletes may experience increased strength or coordination when the spine is kept in top shape. The practices employed by chiropractors may go beyond what players would get from a trainer, decreasing recovery time and even helping with headaches or ankle and knee injuries.

Common Back Injuries Among Football Players

As a contact sport, football puts intense pressure on many parts of the body. Especially for players who frequently block heavy opponents, or those who are often tackled, back pain is almost a guarantee. Football players should be wary if they experience symptoms of any of the following conditions.

  • Lumbar strain may cause pain or muscle spasms in the lower back. The condition is caused by damage to your tendons.
  • Spinal concussions happen when head-on collisions disrupt the curvature of the spine or the width of the spinal canal. The moment of injury typically brings a short period of numbness or paralysis. Symptoms may persist for a day, affecting patients’ arms and/or legs. Though symptoms may disappear, changes to the spine will not.
  • A herniated disc can occur after a fall or due to repeated twisting of the back. The “disc” this injury refers to typically separates vertebrae in the spine; when knocked out of position it may cause weakness, tingling feelings in the limbs, or shooting pain.
  • Stingers, so called for the sense of radiating pain they cause among patients, indicate an injury to neck or shoulder nerves. The pain may not be long-lasting, but once injured, players may experience stingers again and could suffer long-term arm pain. This pain, caused by either the compression or overextension of neck and shoulder nerves, can last a few seconds or a few hours. Nontreatment and repeated injury can weaken the muscles of the affected arm.
  • Spondylolysis, or a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis, occurs in around 20% of football players, likely because the amount of stress that a lineman stance and blocking put on the spine. The condition usually results in an aching spine, with pain worsening during activity or when the lower back is stretched. Patients may also notice spasms among their spinal muscles or tightness of the hamstrings.

Even if the pain is mild or passes quickly, that doesn’t mean you’re back to normal. While our bodies can adjust to mild changes in spinal alignment, these small hurts can slowly add up to result in a bigger injury.

Full-Body Care Benefits Serious Athletes

Top athletes know that what you do off the field can have as big an effect on your performance as what you do on the field—which is why you hear about their strict diets and dedication to seemingly unrelated activities like yoga. Likewise, following a regular chiropractic schedule can help players keep their bodies in tip-top shape, and may even help them avoid injury.

One game can be the difference between a successful postseason and a disappointing end to the season. If you or someone you know plays football, make sure they don’t miss their big moment because of a back injury.

Book your first appointment today or call us at (404) 620-4020 to learn more about how chiropractic care can benefit athletes.

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