Low back pain is the general term for any pain in the small of your back. The repetitive action of bowling is the biggest cause of low back pain in cricket, but bending to field the ball and standing in the field or batting for prolonged periods also put stress on the back which can cause back pain.
Any structure of the lower back can be affected - the discs, ligaments, muscles or Facet joints - but in fast bowlers, particularly younger ones, the most commonly affected part of the lower back is the 'Pars Interarticularis' region of the Lumbar vertebra, where a stress fracture can develop. This is characterised by a back ache following cricket, particularly when bending backwards.
What can you do to prevent Low Back Pain?
Fast bowling in cricket requires a combination of spinal hyperextension (bending backwards) together with rotation and side bending of the trunk. When repeated this puts excessive stress on an area of the vertebra called the Pars Interarticularis and this is where a stress fracture develops.
Bowling practice should be carefully monitored to ensure the lower back is not being overloaded. This is particularly important in adolescent players who have just experienced a growth spurt as they are known to be more at risk from this injury. Core stability exercises are important to prevent back problems in cricket players and Shock Absorbing Insoles can help to reduce stress on the back.
What should you do if you suffer Low Back Pain?
A soothing Heat Pack can reduce back pain and back muscle spasm. Once diagnosed, stress fractures of the lower back usually require 6 weeks of rest to allow the bone to heal. During this period, an exercise programme under supervision can be started. This focuses on exercises to increase the muscular stability in the lower back.
Research has shown that poor muscular stability in the lumbar region can lead to low back pain. Core stability exercises target certain specific muscles which give the spine much better support. This prevents postural faults which can cause low back pain.
Kinetic Crickets back management program is ideal for those trying to bulletproof their backs against the demands cricket asks of the body.