Tennis youngsters who train intensively with the dream of becoming the next Roger Federer or Venus Williams should beware – they may be risking serious injury to their spine.
Spinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was performed on 33 young players enrolled in an elite training program run by Britain's national tennis centre. The players were aged between 16-23 and none reported any back pain.
The MRI scans showed abnormalities in 28 of the 33 players. These included 23 with early signs of damage to the facet joints (joints at the back of the spine), 24 with bony overgrowth and 10 with cysts in the synovial fluid (lubricating fluid of the joints). In addition, 13 showed early degenerative changes in the spinal discs and another 13 showed bulging discs.
It is believed the excessive rotation, hyperextension and flexion during play, combined with heavy training schedules, caused these spinal problems. Such changes predispose the players to more significant injury later in their playing career.
Elite athletes from almost all sports need to consider prevention, not only to perform at their best, but to avoid serious injury that may dog them well after their competitive days are finished. In most cases it is prehabilitation before the injury, rather than rehabilitation after the injury, that is the key.
Coaching techniques and schedules may need modifying to prevent wear and tear. Chiropractic care, along with exercises specific to an individual and their sport, can go a long way to improve spinal balance and reduce the risk of future injury.
It would be most beneficial to seek the assistance of, your OneWay Chiropractor to check your spine health.
It’s far better to prevent health problems, rather than try to repair the damage after it is done.
Contact us today to book an appointment.