The low back is a common source of discomfort and soreness among volleyball players because of repetitive jumping, bending, and rotating of the trunk. Adolescents have an increased risk of this injury because their vertebral bones are still developing, which increases the risk for stress fractures. Chiropractic care, massage therapy, decompression, rest, and athletic training can help expedite pain relief and heal the injury.
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Volley Back Pain
Muscle or ligament strains are the most common injury from repetitive jumping, bending, rotating movements, and hyperextension during serving, hitting and setting. This can lead to excessive compression forces on the discs and joints, causing reduced blood circulation, increasing the risk of overload injuries. One study reported that low back pain is experienced in 63% of players. However, if low-back pain is accompanied by pain that runs down the leg along with numbness or weakness in the foot or ankle, the issue could be a herniated disc.
One common reason is endurance imbalances in the muscles that stabilize the low back. The core muscles provide stability to the low back and spine for all movements. If imbalances are present, a player may spike or serve the ball with intense turning and arching. The added actions cause increased pressure in the joints and hip, gluteal, and leg muscles, affecting the spine’s stability.
- The gluteals run from the back of the pelvis/hip bones down to the outside of the thigh.
- The gluteal muscles prevent the trunk and hips from overbending forward when landing.
- If the gluteal muscles do not have the strength and endurance to perform this motion, the upper body will bend too far forward, causing poor landing posture and decreased spine stability.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Studies have shown that players with low back pain tend to stand and land with an anterior pelvic tilt. This is an unhealthy posture when the front of the pelvis tilts forward, and the back of the pelvis raises. Landing hard with an anterior pelvic tilt causes increased arching and increases the pressure in the joints.
Chronic back pain
Warning signs of a more serious back problem include:
- Pain that has lasted for more than 1 week and is not improving or getting worse.
- Pain that prevents sleep or causes the individual to constantly wake up.
- Difficulty sitting.
- Back soreness when performing basic tasks and chores.
- Significant pain on the court when jumping, landing, or rotating.
- Chronic pain ranges from aches to shooting or throbbing pain that can run down the buttocks and legs.
A chiropractor can alleviate volleyball back pain, rule out a more severe injury, such as a stress fracture or herniated disc, and provide a healthier and faster recovery. According to a study, athletes who received chiropractic care showed better speed and mobility. Quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination depend on an optimal functioning nervous system. 90% of the central nervous system travels through the spine. When one or more spinal segments are misaligned, the effect on the nervous system can seriously impact and disrupt nerve circulation, affecting speed, mobility, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination. Chiropractic adjustments will:
- Relax and reset the back muscles.
- Realign and decompress the spine.
- Remove the pressure around the nerve roots.
- Strengthen the core.
- Improve and increase range of motion, strength, and overall endurance.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
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Mizoguchi, Yasuaki, et al. “Factors associated with low back pain in elite high school volleyball players.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 31,8 (2019): 675-681. doi:10.1589/jpts.31.675
Movahed,Marziehet al. (2019). “Single leg landing kinematics in volleyball athletes: A comparison between athletes with and without active extension low back pain.”
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