Low Back Pain

NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource

There are many causes of low back pain: nerve pain due to disk injury or nerve entrapment, muscle strains or ligament sprains, or bony abnormalities. Some low back pain is acute (rapid onset) while other types of back pain gradually intensify over time (chronic).

Ice, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Ibuprophen, etc.), and a gradual return to activity have long been the school of low back pain care in the United States. It is important to note however, that back pain recovery is rarely complete without the addition of specific exercise programs. Therefore, any time you develop low back pain, make sure you follow-up with a physician.

Prevention. Prevention of low back pain can be broken down into three principles:


It is important to maintain normal muscular flexibility. Chronic tightness will render the joint less mobile and will make it more prone to injury.

Muscular Strength and Endurance:
Achieving normal functional strength in the low back and abdomen (trunk) is important for athletes to overcome the various forces placed on the spine, termed core strength.

Cardiovascular Fitness:
This component plays an integral part in promoting vascularization of the soft tissue of the spine. Adequate blood supply to the structures of the spine promotes recovery and resistance to fatigue. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends performing activities that require large muscle groups and are performed continuously for a minimum of 20 minutes, three to five days a week. The Surgeon General recommends accumulating 60 minutes of moderate activity throughout each day. No matter what recommendation you follow, it is important to be physically active.

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