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Low back pain in athletes

Oct 19, 2020

Most people are familiar with low back pain. And in most cases, it’s annoying, painful but is short lived. Because it’s so prevalent, there is a lot of studies and research into low back pain.

For athletes, however, low back pain can be a real issue. In fact, it can even be career ending in some circumstances. The British Journal of Sports Medicine have published a review of what is known about low back pain in athletes.

Research has generally shown that exercise is helpful for low back pain and can even prevent it. However, it’s been suggested that whilst some exercise is great for helping to reduce the risk of low back pain, too much exercise can perhaps increase the risk.

Unsurprisingly, the authors found that low back pain is common in athletes. This isn’t a surprise since it’s common in the general population too, but in athletes, depending on which study is looked at, low back pain is as common or more common in athletes. This could support the idea that to much exercise could increase the risk of low back pain.

The authors also looked at what risk factors there are athletes developing low back pain. Again, they found that lots of training and competition could be a risk factor, as could being an athlete for years and a previous history of back pain.

Although there are screening factors in place in sport to try and identify athletes at risk, the authors felt that these weren’t good at catching everyone and should be improved.

You can read the study here: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/10/18/bjsports-2020-102537

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