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Best and Worst Sports for Spinal Injuries

The Role of the Spine

As much as 8.7% of spinal cord injuries in the United States are, in some way, related to sports, according to a research article published by BP Boden. Your spine is the skeletal structure that protects the spinal cord. It runs from the base of your skull down to your tailbone and is a flexible tube of discs and vertebrae that allow the spinal cord to transport messages to various areas of your body.

The most minor of injuries to the spine can cause sprains or strains, but major injuries pose risks including permanent paralysis or even death. The most common cause of critical spinal injuries is the result of forceful impact, such as those in sports activities.

When the spine becomes damaged, your body’s overall health and function is put at risk. Common spine injuries include:

  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Ruptured or herniated disc(s)
  • Sprains and strains

Worst Sports for Spinal Injuries

Certain sports are more physically demanding than others, especially when it comes to the strength, flexibility, or durability of your spine. Close-contact sports, for example, put you at much greater risk of spinal injury by placing the body in stressful and potentially dangerous situations.

This is why professional athletes like football players are often injured on the field and removed from play as they recover from their injuries. The following is a list of some of the worst sports for spinal injuries:

  • Cheerleading
  • Diving
  • Football
  • Horseback riding
  • Rugby
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Wrestling

Best Sports for Spinal Injuries

Spinal cord injury can have a long road of recovery, so it’s important to not only try to prevent injury, but also to treat your body with kindness as it heals. Staying active with spine-friendly sports following a spinal cord injury is going to keep your body healthy by allowing you to maintain a safe level of activity.

The following are some of the best sports for spinal injuries to both treat them and help prevent them while you focus on your health:

  • Accessible CrossFit
  • Aerobics
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Hand Cycling
  • Para Dance Sport
  • Swimming
  • Weightlifting
  • Wheelchair Racing
  • Wheelchair Tennis
  • Yoga

How to Keep Your Body Safe from Harm During Sport Activities

If you know you are going to be actively participating in a sport, whether that sport is typically safe or dangerous for injury, take precautions to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Even in the most relaxing sports, like yoga or golf, you can stress your body when you push it too hard or too far.

Keep your spine safe by being gentle with yourself, knowing your limits and considering your situation. If you are going to be playing a physically demanding or close-contact sport, wear protective gear and establish ground rules to keep yourself, and everyone involved, safe from injury. In the event of injury, react quickly to get the treatment you need.

Need Help with a Spinal Injury?

If you have suffered a spinal injury, Dr. Hooman Melamed, MD, FAAOS is here to help. Dr. Melamed is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon with an expanse of knowledge to help you get back on your feet and on the field as safely and efficiently as possible.

Contact our office today and schedule your appointment to get your body back on track to live the lifestyle you want to live.