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Pickleball Y’all? Avoiding Back Pain to Keep on Dinking

Pickleball Y’all? Avoiding Back Pain to Keep on Dinking

By Eli Finkelstein, MD

I admit it, l am one of the many people who have taken up Pickleball and find myself in love with the competition, energy and frenzy of the game! While pickleball can be a great source for exercise and a lot of fun, it requires a large degree of repetitive stress on the spine and back muscles. The sudden stop-and-go, spine-twisting lunges and challenging dinks, area natural and unavoidable part of the game. Here are some tips to help you protect your spine and body from injuries while you are out on the court.

Always do a Proper Warm-up and Cool Down

I always tell my patients to warm up when playing any sport. Pickleball is no exception. A good stretching program for your neck and lower back helps to warm up muscles, joints and other soft tissues at risk for injury. Flexibility is key to minimizing such injury. For best results, consult your doctor, physical therapist or athletic trainer to develop a warm-up routine with specific stretches for before and after your game. If you find certain areas of your body to be quite stiff or achy after play, ice and appropriate anti-inflammatory medications can be very useful, just make sure to talk to your doctor about these therapies first.

Pay Attention to Your Posture

The dinking motion and posture can be especially taxing on your lower back. A neutral stance (neither bending forward nor leaning backwards), while flexing or squatting with your knees and hips, will serve you best and reduce strain to your lower back muscles and repetitive impact on your spinal discs. A coach, or a lesson or two can be an excellent resource to help you find the right form for your dink.

Consider an Elongated Paddle

An elongated handle/paddle can provide a significant advantage for those difficult and hard to reach volleys while helping to eliminate unnatural positioning required to place the perfect return.

Build Up Your Core Off the Court

One of the common themesI see in all my patients is a need to strengthen their core muscles. The lack of stability and core strength in the spine can be the difference between enjoying many hours of play versus sitting out due to injury. Whether through the advice or education of your doctor, physical therapist or certified trainer, there are numerous exercises that will help build your endurance and strength for play.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced pickleball player, I hope these tips help keep you out on the courts this summer. If you experience neck or back pain that won’t go away, the physicians at Resurgens Spine Center are here to help diagnose you and provide a treatment plan that gets you back to playing the game you love.

Eli A. Finkelstein, MDEli A. Finkelstein, MD, received his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ). He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Finkelstein is Board-Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine. Additionally, he is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Dr. Finkelstein practices at the Roswell, Cumming and Johns Creek locations of Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care

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