Although it might sound counterintuitive, sports and exercise can help to alleviate the pain of a bad back. Low impact sports like swimming and yoga get the blood flowing and release endorphins that combat pain. Nonetheless, not all sports should be attempted, and some will do more harm than good.
#1 Any contact sport
It should come as no surprise that contact sports are a terrible choice for someone with a bad back. That applies to anyone with chronic pain or someone recovering from a medical intervention like stem cell treatment. Not only are contact sports like soccer, football and ruby extremely fast paced, but the jarring impacts are disastrous. A single impact can set your recovery back months and taking a fall or tackling another player is similarly damaging. The fast-paced nature of these sports makes it difficult to protect yourself. Contact sports put a strain on most areas of the body, and if you try to play with a bad back you might find that you injure yourself elsewhere, too.
Although it’s more sedate than contact sports, tennis isn’t a wise choice for back injury sufferers. The serve is the most obvious point of stress because it involves the player reaching up, straining their back muscles in the process. Even a standard forehand or backhand engages the back and given that a single rally can last several shots, all that movement quickly adds up. Tennis is renowned for putting a strain on a player’s knees, but back injuries are just as common. Despite its reputation as a fantastic full body workout, tennis is better left until you’re fully recovered and pain free. The same applies to other sports that use the same muscle groups, including cricket, baseball and badminton.
Walking is a fantastic choice to manage a bad back and get active again, but the same certainly doesn’t apply to running. Running engages your back with every stride, and it comes with other problems too. The jarring impacts of running along a track or tarmac are bad for your back and, depending on the length of the run and how hard you push, can be enough to increase the severity of preexisting pain. If you’re eager for the road, avoid jogging and running and opt for a sedate walk instead. Walking has many of the same mental health benefits as running, so it makes an excellent alternative.
The fast-paced nature of basketball makes it unsuitable for bad backs in the same way that running is, but there’s more. Basketball puts a strain on the muscles in your back. Players spend time stooped as they dribble and reaching up to shoot stretches muscles in the back. Since basketball is such a fast sport, trips and falls are common; even more so if you’re playing with a sore back. That, of course, can lead to other injuries like sprains. Other sports similar in scope to basketball (like volleyball, for example) should also be avoided.