As winter is upon us, you may be hitting the ice skating rinks with your family and friends to enjoy the festivities of the season. Keep in mind your body is likely not used to ice skating and you may experience some pain from use of muscles and/or falling. Even if you don’t participate in aggressive or competitive extreme skating, your back is vulnerable to injury because it is often the target area for impact from falls and landing attempts. Your back is also affected by the ongoing stress of maintaining balance while you skate.

These back pains – often called backache or lumbago – sometimes happen suddenly from a fall, a sudden twist or other failed skating move. Or your back can slowly become more and more uncomfortable until an actual ache develops. Almost every skater who is active for an extended period of time will experience lower back pain at some point. Take a look at how many skating activity-related injuries and medical issues that could cause back pain for a skater:

Muscle Strains
One common cause of lower back pain for inline and roller skaters is lower back muscle strains. Muscle strain, a slight or partial tear in muscle tissue, can occur from a constant dose of overuse, sudden overexertion or even trauma. Like all of the muscles in the body, sudden movements can injure your back muscles. Poor posture and overuse can also cause muscle strain injuries, causing spasms and pain when the affected muscles are in use.

Bone Fracture
The most common bone injuries sustained in skating sports include stress fractures to the spine. Pain may occur with these fractures, but it does not always result in a serious medical problem. Isolated fractures or defects are called spondylolysis. Your medical specialist can usually diagnose them with X-rays and treat them non-surgically.

Vertebra Dislocation
Aggressive skaters transmit impact from harsh foot or butt landings through the spine. Spondylolisthesis, also known as slipped vertebrae results in back pain from the dislocation that can occur when a skater continues to skate with a spondylolysis bone fracture.

Herniated Disc
Many roller sports athletes who experience back pain, leg pain, or weak muscles in the lower extremities are diagnosed with a herniated or ruptured disc.

Lumbar Disc Pain
Sometimes the cause of back pain is thought to be de to degeneration, or wearing out, of the lumber intervertebral discs. This condition is called discogenic back pain or lumbar disc pain.

Other Medical Conditions Can Cause Back Pain
In addition to injuries and overuse, there are many medical conditions and diseases that can create back pain. These include lumbar spine arthritis, kidney stones, osteoporosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, infections and even tumors. Emotional stress can also affect the intensity and duration of back pain.

When Should You See a Medical Specialist?
In many cases, simple back pain only lasts a few days and is gone in a few weeks. But regardless of the level of discomfort, be sure to contact your primary care physician or sports medicine specialist to find out if a formal diagnosis or treatment is needed. Be sure to seek attention if any of these signs are present:

  • Back pain is affecting your skating or training actitivies
  • The back pain lasts more than a few days
  • Regular sleep patterns are disrupted by back pain
  • There are problems controlling your bladder or bowels
  • The back pain is accompanied by weak, numb or painful legs
  • Any signs of infection like chills, fever, chills or sweating

If you take good care of your back, you may not need to fix it. This is a simple solution, but one that is well worth investigating, if you are a new, returning or current skater who is concerned about preventing back pain and avoiding other skating injuries.

Skating injuries are always lurking on the horizon. Some may be overuse injuries and others may be acute or traumatic. Make a point to educate yourself about the things you can do to prevent and identify injury as well when to get professional medical evaluation and treatment.

If you are experiencing back pain from prolonged skating, a skating accident, or other activity, call Prairie Spine today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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