Bulging and Herniated Discs are Common Among Athletes
Participating in sports can be a rewarding experience, but it is also associated with a higher risk of spinal problems. Many athletes experience lower back pain due to spinal issues, such as a bulging disc or herniated disc.
What Are Bulging and Herniated Discs?
Bulging and herniated discs are conditions that involve the inner part of spinal discs. In bulging discs, this inner part bulges while staying enclosed in the outer part of the disc. With herniated discs, the inner part ends up leaking from the disc. These conditions can cause sharp pain in the affected area, as well as muscle spasms and tingling. While bulging and herniated discs can affect any part of the spine, they typically occur in the lower back.
How Do Sports Cause Bulging and Herniated Discs?
You can develop bulging or herniated discs when you perform movements that twist the spine or put a lot of pressure on it. Physical activities such as running or weightlifting are examples of sports that can damage spinal discs. These spinal conditions can also occur when playing contact sports that involve a lot of rough play, such as football. Athletes who participate in these sports can sustain trauma to the spine, leading to bulging or herniated discs. In a 2011 study in the "American Journal of Sports Medicine," researchers discovered that college athletes who participated in sports at an early age have a higher risk of developing lower back pain caused by spinal disc problems. The study also showed an even higher risk among athletes who played sports more or played rougher or more vigorous sports.
What Treatments Are Available for Athletes?
Bulging and herniated discs often heal on their own with certain measures of care, such as rest or physical therapy, but this is not always effective for more severe damage. These spinal problems can also take weeks or months to fully heal, which prevents you from participating in sports. If you have more serious damage or if you want to get back to playing sooner, spinal surgery is an option. This kind of surgery can help repair bulging or herniated discs in order to relieve pain and help you make a full recovery in a shorter period of time. In many cases, minimally invasive surgical procedures are used to lower the risk of complications, reduce pain and decrease recovery time. Minimally invasive procedures also lower the risk of affecting muscles in the area, which helps you recover more quickly.
If you have a bulging or herniated disc, contact Capital City Neurosurgery for an appointment to determine the best treatment option for you.