January 3, 2018

Low Back Pain in Fast Bowlers: The Importance of Spinal Stability

low back painFast bowling in cricket puts a big strain on the lower back. Given the long duration of the game and the repetitive nature of the bowling action, bowling injuries can progress to a more serious problem such as stress fractures.

What are the causes and symptoms for Back Stress Fracture?

According to several studies, a high bowling workload can result in a low back injury as early as one week to 4 weeks especially if the player is suddenly upgraded from a lower frequency of bowling. It is also worth noting that fast bowlers that bowl at least 50 balls in a day have a higher risk of injury and those who have more than 3.5 rest days have lower risk.

There are different bowling techniques such as front, side on or mixed. Many studies report that using a mixed bowling technique can lead to a greater risk of lower back injury than side or front techniques. Symptoms include feeling an obvious back ache on the opposite side to bowling hand dominance. Others also have tighter hamstrings than normal and a noticeable arched lower back.

How to prevent Back Pain in Bowlers?

Here are some preventative stretch exercises to prevent back injuries and support ankle and hip movement:

  1. 4 on the Floor/Gluteus medius stretch

While lying on your tummy on the floor, bend the knee of the hip you need to stretch and place it underneath the opposite thigh; this should make your body look like the number “4”. While squeezing your buttocks, gently push your hip to the floor.

  1. Sit on your feet

You can do this two ways, first by simple kneeling on the ground. The second way of doing this is you can add a rolled towel under your toes while kneeling.

  1. Hamstring Stretch

Lying on your back on the ground, place a towel or stretch band around your foot. Alternatively, you can have your coach or teammate hold your leg up. With your knee slightly bent (1-2 degrees), raise your leg with the band until your straight leg still on the ground starts to bend at the knee. Hold 30 seconds and do 2-3 each side.

How do I treat lumbar pain from cricket?

If you already have an injured back from bowling and still want to continue playing the game, it is certainly possible. However it’s important you get the correct assessment and treatment from your physiotherapist.

For the first stage of treatment, your physiotherapist may advise you to rest from playing the sport for up to least 6 weeks. Your physiotherapist will recommend exercises that are suitable for your problem, including core stability exercises.

The second stage will still require you to rest from bowling and your physiotherapist will work on your back’s stability and will correct any muscle imbalances you might have. Towards the end of this stage, it is highly possible that you will be allowed to perform activities such as net batting, fielding and short throwing.

During the third stage of your rehabilitation, your bowling technique will be discussed. The discussion will revolve around what could have possibly caused the injury and how to improve your bowling technique or if it needs to be changed to prevent future injuries. In this stage, you will also be re-introduced to running as a preparation for your return to bowling.

The fourth and last stage will be more about you and maintaining a healthy low back while bowling. It is highly important that you don’t overwork your newly healed back and your take note of all the exercises and recommendations of your physiotherapist.

For any athlete, spinal stability and overall physical health is a requirement. Here are Turramurra Physiotherapy, we offer injury prevention programs as well as effective treatment programs, just call 9144 1510 now to schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.

Mention this email or blog for a free Real Time Ultrasound to assess your core during your initial assessment.

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