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.