Youth Sports & Low back pain as Adults

Physical activity is essential to growing bodies. It helps develop muscle strength, coordination, balance, and helps prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. It also helps develop a lifelong habit of physical activity. It is generally recommended that all people, including kids and youth are active for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

But how much is too much? What are the effects of “too much”?

A recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at the relationship between excessive competitive sports activity in young people and the risk of developing low back pain and chronic symptoms in the lower limbs. It seems that the duration and excessive exposure to competitive youth sports is related to the incidence of low back pain and other symptoms.  The longer and more intense the practice and competition times, the more likely the participant will experience low back pain, numbness and tingling in the lower legs, and the more likely the participant will miss school days and eventually drop out of competition altogether.  The sports most likely to produce symptoms include volleyball, baseball, track and field, basketball, soccer, swimming and tennis.

What’s the take-home message?  Encourage kids to be active, but make sure they also participate in other activities to create a balanced life, and incorporate strategies and activities such as yoga, massage, and chiropractic to prevent long term problems.

Dr. Anne Stacey is a Vancouver Chiropractor who has a family practice on Commercial Drive.

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