Thursday, January 7, 2010

How to Prevent Back Injuries

A lot of guys I play hockey complain about their sore back. I'm not sure if its the hockey that's doing it, or they're just getting old. It's important to know your body's limitations, and it's important to be aware of your body position at all times. Learn to recognize those situations where your back is most a risk: bending, lifting, reaching, twisting, etc.

According to the experts at Club Physio Plus, there are three basic things you can do to help prevent back injuries in hockey;
  • Develop a Strong Core (abdominals),
  • Proper Hitting Technique
  • No twisting.
Strengthen the Abdominals
The abdominal muscles are crucial to holding the core (back and stomach) together. People often wonder why the abdominals, when it is my back that is hurting. Usually the lower abdominals (below the waist line) will be quite weak on most people, and therefore not be able to hold the pelvis stable the way it should.

Proper Hitting Technique
Stay close to boards when getting a hit and not just a few feet away. The boards are there for impact. If you are further away your body may twist or worse, go head first. We all know the consequences of that happening. If you are the ‘hitter’, go into the player and boards at an angle. This will lessen your chance of missing the hit and going face first into the boards yourself.

NO Twisting
Whenever you twist always keep your feet moving and never let your trunk twist beyond where your feet are pointing. If you are going around a player or behind the net, try to keep your waist pointing in the same direction as you feet are pointing.

Stretch first – Although there are no studies that show stretching before an activity can prevent the injuries, I have always thought that warm muscles will work more efficiently and therefore decrease their chance of straining.

Sleep on a firm mattress. - Also, the best sleeping position for many people is either on the back with the knees slightly elevated (by a pillow), or on the side with knees slightly bent with a pillow between them.

If you are currently suffering from a back injury, it could be one of many things. It may be a minor muscle strain to a more serious disc herniation. A back left untreated can go on for years. The majority of all back injuries can be resolved.

Read the entire article here.

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