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From the Desk of Dr. Len

How to Avoid Back Injuries Playing Soccer

Thomas Green - Monday, April 10, 2017

Injury is an unfortunate risk in all walks of life and one unlucky twist can potentially end a career. In a previous post here on Dr. Len Lopez, we wrote about relieving upper back pain in the office. In this article we will look at one popular sport that can potentially cause injuries to the back: soccer.  

Most soccer players spend all year round training which can often lead to overuse injuries. One of the most common injures, according to the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration is muscle spasms. The site states that “side tackles, quick twists and turns, falls, or even a hard kick” can cause the spasms. A player who suffers from lower back muscle spasms should apply hot and cold compresses to the area and develop an exercise program that builds up core strength. Proper stretching is also advised to prepare the muscles for football.  

Soccer Magazine Four Four Two interviewed an English soccer chiropractor who revealed that one in three soccer players complain of back problems. He believes that the pain is caused by the lower limbs due to player’s putting more weight on one leg than the other. He told journalists that a player can make adjustments and work on their balance to avoid the big shift in weight. He also credits players losing their natural lumber spine curve to driving low-seat sports cars and recommends getting out the car every 45 minutes to stretch.  

Another potential danger is a herniated disk. Live Strong explains that while it is not considered a major trouble spot for soccer players it has still affected high profile soccer players such as Chelsea and England star John Terry. The health site suggests that “disk problems including herniation may account for more than 25 percent of lower back injuries in athletes.” John Terry had to undergo surgery in order to recover. The New York Times suggests taking up yoga as an effective way to reduce the risk of a herniating disk.  

If a soccer player does have the misfortune to suffer a serious back injury all is not lost. In 2011 a new version of soccer was created called Walking Football. As the name suggests it is a game of soccer where running is not permitted. It was designed to accommodate older players and those carrying serious injuries. The Guardian reported that English Premier League star Harry Kane was one of the players to endorse the game. Premier League insight site Betfair recall how the Tottenham star was one of the top goal scorers in the 2015/16 season leading up to Euro 2016 and this kind of notable star is the perfect soccer player to help Walking Soccer gain the global recognition it deserves in the coming years. Injuries do happen but as sports like Walking Soccer show they don’t have to end competitive sport. 

Through proper exercising and stretching the chance of suffering a back injury can be reduced. If you do happen to suffer a back injury, you should be aware that not only can you rehabilitate it but you can also continue playing.







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