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By:Dr. Donna A. Pontoriero, Chiropractor

Nearly one in three competitive athletes experiences low back pain. According to a literature review in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthapedic Surgeons, lower (lumbar) back pain is a commonly reported symptom among the general population; however, low back pain among elite athletes who play varsity or professional sports requires additional important considerations.

Competitive players stress their lumbar spine for hundreds of hours a month, thereby predisposing themselves to specific injuries that should be recognized by healthcare practitioners. The human spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, stacked on top of one another. In between each of these bones are flat, round disks with a tough flexible outer exterior and a soft, jelly-like center that act as shock absorbers when walking or running.

Athletes are at greater risk of developing lower back conditions when intense training regimens start and continue between the ages 10 and 24 years. This may increase the likelihood that young athletes develop symptomatic lumbar disk degeneration -- a natural degradation of disk, and narrowing of the space between vertebrae due to the aging process.

Chiropractic care is an option that really works for low back pain.

Surgical management, considered as a last resort, includes removing the diseased disk, and fusion (locking one bone to another bone) or total disk arthroplasty (replacing the diseased disk with an artifical device). However, few studies have looked at the outcomes of surgically treated athletes with lumbar disk degeneration.

Please contact our office if you would like further evaluation on your condition.

Dr. Donna Pontoriero can be reached at 299 Franklin Ave, Nutley NJ 07110, 973-235-9393.