Back Pain in Sport

Low-back pain is often a source of missed playing time and disability in athletes. While a wide-range of treatment options exist, it is difficult to chose which therapies will enable you to return to play as safely and as quickly as possible.


A study by Petering and Webb (2011) aimed to determine which treatment option was the best for athletes with back pain. They reviewed previous studies of low-back pain treatments, including application of cold or heat, ultrasound or laser treatments, traction therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and lumbar supports or back braces.


Among the most effective treatments were superficial heat, spinal manipulative therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and skeletal muscle relaxants. Spinal manipulative therapy and heat were found to have the strongest evidence of benefit, along with the lowest risk of side effects.


The researchers point out that back pain is a symptom with many causes, including ligament sprains, muscle strains, and soft-tissue contusions. Diagnosis of the cause of the pain must be reached before an appropriate treatment can be selected.


Whether you’re recovering from an injury or suffering from non-specific pain, chiropractors are experts in the field of spinal manipulative therapy, and can help identify and treat the root of your back pain.



Petering R and Webb C. Treatment options for low back pain in athletes. Sports Health 2011; 3(6): 550–555.