How Athletes Can Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast
Lower Back Muscles
It can be extremely difficult to keep up with your favorite sports when you have a stiff and tight lower back – and it’s very frustrating because we know that playing sports and keeping active is more than just a hobby – it’s a passion.
Lower back problems can make it painful to move, reduce your speed, power, and strength, and ultimately mean you aren’t able to pay as well as you could.
Some people try to put on a brave face, power through the pain and hope it gets better on its own.
Others have to stop playing sports and exercising entirely until the tightness goes away.
Then there are the people who get the right help from experts and quickly loosen their stiff backs. This allows them to get back to playing the sports they love – be one of these people!
Why Do I Get A Stiff Lower Back When Playing Sports?
Your lower back pain and stiffness can be caused by a number of reasons.
As an active person, it’s probably not caused by a lack of movement or sitting for long periods of time.
But it could be caused by overtraining, muscular imbalances, weak core muscles, or poor movement patterns. One, or a combination of these reasons, could leave your lower back unable to cope resulting in the muscles tightening up, and pain flaring up.
There could also be sports injuries that you haven’t fully recovered from, and are still taking a toll on your body – this is a common reason, and why it’s so important to get an injury managed properly so it doesn’t become a long-term issue that lasts months, if not years!
Our physical therapy team regularly works with amateur, professional, and elite-level athletes and sportspeople and there is rarely just one factor that is leading to a stiff lower back.
That’s why it’s so difficult for you to treat it yourself, or why it goes away for a day or two before coming back worse than ever.
Common Sports Where Lower Back Tightness Is A Problem
Certain sports have a higher chance of causing lower back pain and stiffness such as golf, baseball, and tennis.
These sports involve a lot of twisting and turning motions that are done in an explosive manner which can place a lot of stress on your lower back.
Weightlifting, CrossFit, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes also have high rates of low back pain. The heavy weights combined with high levels of fatigue during a workout mean that a safe lifting technique is often compromised, and your lower back suffers.
Ease A Stiff Lower Back Muscles At Home
For some immediate relief from lower back stiffness, using a foam roller or doing certain stretches – particularly those that relax the muscles in the hips and glutes can be helpful as they have a big impact on your lower back – can help.
However, the right stretches or foam roller movements for you will depend on the underlying cause of your lower back pain.
That’s why it’s so important to get expert help, and why you’ve struggled to get any long-term benefit from stretching or foam roller yourself.
How To Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast
If you want to loosen tight lower muscles fast quickly and stop it from coming back the next time you work out, or play sports, there are a number of proven, natural treatment options available at Prep Performance Center, Chicago – all without having to resort to painkillers, injections, or resting for weeks!
Cupping, Massage Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy are just three of the powerful treatment options available to ease a stiff lower back, and our team have seen incredible success with lower back pain sufferers – even if they’ve had the problem for years, and feel like they’ve tried everything!
To find out what the best treatment option would be for you, and to discover how to get long-term relief from a stiff lower back, arrange a Free Discovery Visit.
Speaking to a member of our expert team, who has worked with thousands of back pain sufferers in Chicago can give you hope of a life without back problems, and allow you to play hard, exercise as often as you want, and perform better than ever before!
Right now, the demand at our clinic is very high, so arrange your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847 now – we would love to help you.
Are you looking to improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury? Look no further than the Dynamic Warm Up!
This comprehensive warm-up routine is designed to activate your muscles, increase your range of motion, and prepare your body for exercise.
Download Dynamic Warm Up Guide
Other Free Resources To Stop Lower Back Pain And Stiffness
Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Sports Injuries – 5 Proven Strategies
Read Our Blog – Improve Your Performance & End Your Lower Back Pain When Playing Golf
Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Instagram, and Prep Performance Center YouTube
Improve Your Performance & End Your Lower Back Pain When Playing Golf
Want to end lower back pain when playing golf? Lower back pain is a common problem for golfers, and we work with lots of golf lovers, and even golf pros here at Prep Performance Center Chicago.
Golf takes a big toll on your lower back muscles when swinging the golf club.
These muscles can get sore from all the repetition, rotation, and force and for some, this can start to hurt after a while.
While lower back pain from golf can be a nuisance, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your time on the links.
It’s important to take steps to reduce your risk and to end lower back pain correctly so you don’t cause more damage or become chronic.
The good news is that there are some easy things you can do to help prevent lower back pain from golf and reduce the severity of existing lower back pain.
How To Prevent or End Lower Back Pain When Golfing
Proper Golf Swing
First, make sure you use proper form when swinging the club. This means that you should keep your spine in an upright position throughout your golf swing and avoid any sudden jerking or twisting movements.
Keeping a neutral posture while playing golf will help reduce the strain on your lower back. If you have trouble with your lower back, you might find that you are playing with a modified swing – to avoid your normal movement pattern which has become painful.
In the short term, you might think that this solves the problem, but actually, it’s just going to make your lower back pain last longer and become worse over time.
Another simple way to prevent or to end lower back pain when golfing is to use a golf cart, or use a golf bag with wheels instead of carrying your clubs if possible.
Carrying your clubs for long periods of time can put undue pressure on your lower back and create more pain. If you have to carry your clubs, try to alternate sides to balance out the work for your muscles, and avoid creating imbalances.
Add A Warm-Up (end lower back pain)
Finally, add a warm-up before you play golf. Warming up helps to loosen your muscles, which can reduce the risk of lower back pain. If your lower back muscles feel tight and stiff, recognize that they need some loosening up before teeing off.
A simple 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up with stretches and light jogging or walking is all it takes to be ready for the course. This will not only reduce the chance of lower back pain, but will also give you greater movement and help you play better.
Should I Play Golf With Lower Back Pain?
If you have lower back pain, it’s important to speak with one of our expert physical therapists before playing golf. Golf can be a great way to stay active, but it can also exacerbate lower back pain if done too often or with a poor swing pattern.
Your physical therapist can help you come up with a plan to manage your lower back pain and keep playing golf in the short term, and help you improve your golf performance in the long term.
Depending on the severity of the pain, this might mean limiting rounds, taking time off, or modifying your swing. However, we understand that golf is important to you, and we do everything we can to keep you playing as often, and as well as you can.
The warning signs to look out for can be a burning sensation in your lower back, numbness or tingling in your extremities, or sharp pain with certain movements. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, our advice would be to seek urgent medical attention.
End Lower Back Pain So You Can Play As Much Golf As You Want
If you want to relieve or to end lower back pain without painkillers, injections, or the risk of surgery, so you can get back to enjoying your time on the golf course – we can help.
To find out more, start with a completely Free Discovery Visit where you can speak to a member of the team who has worked with thousands of back pain sufferers in Chicago.
Right now, the demand at our clinic is very high, so arrange your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847 now to avoid having to wait.
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Arrange Your Free Golf Performance Assessment
At Prep Performance Center, we work with golfers who want to take their golf performance to the next level – hitting further off the tee, reducing your handicap, and being able to handle multiple days back to back at golf competitions.
For a limited time, we have 8 Free Golf Performance Assessments available which give you the chance to discover where your golf game is lacking, and where you should focus on to improve your game.
Call us on (773) 609-1847 now, and request to arrange your Free Golf Performance Assessment today.
Other Free Resources To Improve Your Golf Performance
Read Our Blog – 7 Exercises to Increase Trunk and Hip Mobility in your Golf Swing
Read Our Blog – 6 Exercises to Increase the Strength and Power of Your Golf Swing
Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Twitter and Prep Performance Center YouTube
Lower Back Pain in Tennis Players
Can tennis cause lower back pain? Athletes push themselves to the limit to achieve great performance. This can cause issues for their bodies though, specifically lower back pain in tennis players. One of the main causes is the way tennis players serve the ball. The rotation, flexion, and extension of the back while serving puts tension in the back, and the quickness of the movement adds to it as well.
Some other causes of lower back pain in tennis players include poor posture, shortening or weakening of muscles, overuse, instability, and joint weakness in the lower back. Sedentary lifestyles can also worsen the issue, as well as extended running.
Some of the symptoms typically associated with lower back pain include but is not limited to:
- Sudden, sharp, persistent, or dull pain in the lower back (sometimes on one side only)
- Shooting pain to the hips, buttocks, or back of the thigh
- Muscle spasms
- If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, please reach out to your doctor or physical therapist; symptoms include shooting pain in the leg extending as far as the foot, a tingling sensation, numbness, or loss of strength
Treatment incorporates three phases to get back to sport by improving strength and flexibility.
- Step 1. Improvement of normal function in terms of mobility and stability
- Step 2. Build-up strong abdominal and back muscles
- Step 3. Return to play, but be sure to practice your footwork (taking small steps, always getting into the right position to hit the ball)
Prevention is essential to athletes, let’s take a look at some of the preventative measures.
- Warm up and cool down at least 10 minutes
- Adequate abdominal corset by doing abdominal and back exercises at least twice a week.
- Build up training step by step (progressive overload)
- Have the right tennis shoe and pay attention to shock absorption, lateral stability, feeling for the surface (good traction) and optimal comfort.
Low Back Pain in the Gymnast
Gymnastics is an extremely intense sport both emotionally and physically. The physical demands of this sport unfortunately leave gymnasts susceptible to almost any injury under the sun. Low back [lumbar] pain, specifically, is one of the many ailments common amongst gymnasts due to the sport’s repetitive nature. There are a number of diagnoses that may explain this low back pain experienced by so many gymnasts, but one of the most common diagnoses that may be relieved by physical therapy is Spondylosis or even Spondylothesis.
Diagnosis in Low Back Pain:
- Spondylosis is the degeneration of the spine due to overuse
- This unilateral or bilateral overuse involves the pars interarticularis of the posterior vertebral arch. This pars interarticularis defect, also referred to as a stress fracture, consists of fibrous tissue. 85-95% of defects occur in the lower lumbar region at L5, with L4 being the next most common vertebra.
- Lumbar instability may progress to spondylosis or even spondylothesis
- Spondylolisthesis is a progression of spondylolysis leading to forward displacement of one vertebral body in relation to the one below it, usually secondary to a bilateral pars defect. This displacement is progressive, especially during rapid growth spurts of early adolescence. It is most common at L5-S1.
Common Symptoms of Low Back Pain:
- Gradual onset of pain, progressively worsens
- Pain is a dull ache and worsens with activity
- Occasional sharp pain with certain activities or changing positions
- Pain with prolonged positions such as sitting or standing
- Pain restricts activities of daily living or sports performance
- May feel unstable or have a catching pain through motions not at end range
- Rest usually relieves symptoms
- Possible history of local trauma or a previous injury, but usually not from a specific incident
How Spondylosis occurs:
- Spondylosis occurs over time with a higher incidence in the young athletic population (gymnasts, football players, divers, wrestlers, weight lifters)
- It is commonly from excessive or repeated hyperextension activities which are extremely common in gymnastics, along with generalized laxity and lumbar hypermobility
- Weak core stabilizers, especially the transverse abdominis can also contribute to back pain. If the core is not stabilized with movement, the spine becomes the victim of excess motion and increased loading.
- Sprain/ Strain Injuries
- Disc Pathology
- Facet Joint Pathology
- SIJ Dysfunction
- Stress Fracture
Pertinent Tests/Diagnostic Imaging:
- Referral to MD for further imaging and evaluation
- Spondylolysis defect is known as the “Scottie Dog” appearance on X-rays
- If it has progressed to Spondylolisthesis, the severity will be graded on a I-IV scale depending on the amount of forward displacement of the vertebra
- Clinical Tests in PT
- + Prone Instability Test
- + Gower Sign
- + Reverse Spinal Rhythm deficits
- Clinical Prediction Rule for Stabilization Protocol: aberrant motion
- Observation, excessive flexibility in a straight leg raise (hamstring flexibility),
- + Prone Instability Test
Risk Factors of Low back pain:
- History of low back pain
- History of traumatic hyperextension
- Generalized hypermobility or diagnosis of a hypermobility disorder such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
When To Seek Medical Attention:
- Persistent pain that does not improve with rest over time
- Palpable step off along the back (if the vertebra has slipped forward, an indent may be felt along the lower spine)
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the lower extremities (if the vertebra has slipped forward, it may be pressing on a nerve root and could cause sensation deficits)
Principles of Treatment:
- Course of anti-inflammatory medication may assist with pain relief and inflammation
- Osseous healing is not absolutely necessary for excellent clinical outcome
- Limit any activities that increase pain- modify practice/ training program, extension typically avoided
- Find rest and relief postures when sustaining positions that increase pain
- Spinal brace may be necessary if imaging suggests Spondylolisthesis
– Prevent motion at that spinal segment to allow the bone to heal
– Possible 3 months in brace with no PT, followed by PT with progressive return to sport
- Focus PT on gluteus and core strengthening
– Strengthening, stabilization, and motor control is usually the focus of treatment
- Safe extension activities- limit hyperextension in practice
- Safe return to gymnastics and proper loading patterns
– Movement analysis to address contributing factors
– Address movement deficits to prevent this from reoccurring
- Maintenance of strong supportive trunk muscles is very important, as well as sport specific training with a neutral spine, postural education, and sensorimotor control
- Do not progress to new levels of rehab unless there is successful completion of the previous level without provocation of pain and normalized active range of motion
- It is also very important to address any psychosocial components that could be contributing to the gymnast’s pain. Young gymnasts often train at a high intensity from a very young age and are under a lot of pressure from coaches and teammates
Goals of Treatment to Low Back pain:
- Decrease pain
- Normalize tissue palpation and length
- Improve strength of individual muscles as well as overall functional strength
- Postural education and correction
- Improve dynamic stabilization
Return to Sport:
- Total rehabilitation time for return to sport is between 2-6 months
- Phase 1: Rest and Protect
- Phase 2: Static Stabilization
- Phase 3: Dynamic Trunk Stabilization and Coordination
- Phase 4: Athletic Enhancement and Gradual Return
- Phase 5: Independent Exercise Program and Re-Injury Prevention Program
- Return to gymnastics requires:
– Pain free ROM
– Improved functional strength
– Proper spinal awareness and body mechanics
– Technique refinement to ensure proper body mechanics when performing skills repetitively or when fatigued
PT Role and How to Prevent Spondylosis:
- Improve core and lumbar stabilization
- Postural education
- Education on training modifications
- Education on proper technique and body mechanics
- Screen for psychosocial risk factors
– Cavalier, R., M. J. Herman, E. V. Cheung and P. D. Pizzutillo (2006). “Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in children and adolescents”
– Dankaerts, W., & O’Sullivan, P. (2011). The validity of O’Sullivan’s classification system (CS) for a sub-group of NS-CLBP with motor control impairment (MCI): overview of a series of studies and review of the literature. Manual therapy, 16(1), 9–14. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.10.006
– Jackson DW, Wiltse LL, Cirincoine RJ. Spondylolysis in the female gymnast. Clinical orthopaedics and related research. 1976(117):68-73.
– Hoffman, S. L., Johnson, M. B., Zou, D., Harris-Hayes, M., & Van Dillen, L. R. (2011). Effect of classification-specific treatment on lumbopelvic motion during hip rotation in people with low back pain. Manual therapy, 16(4), 344–350. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.12.007
– McNeely, M. L., G. Torrance and D. J. Magee (2003). “A systematic review of physiotherapy for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.” Man Ther 8(2): 80-91.
– Newell, R. L. (1995). “Spondylolysis. An historical review.” Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 20(17): 1950-1956
– Winslow JJ, Jackson M, Getzin A, Costello M. Rehabilitation of a Young Athlete With Extension-Based Low Back Pain Addressing Motor-Control Impairments and Central Sensitization. Journal of athletic training. 2018;53(2):168-173.