SOURCE: Spine Centers of America
FAIR LAWN, NJ--(Marketwire - Aug 7, 2012) - As the baseball season draws to a close, many athletes are deciding how to cope with injuries sustained while playing the classic American game. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the most common baseball injuries involve soft tissue like muscle pulls, ligament damage, cuts and bruises. "Spinal injuries and chronic back pain from torn muscles and herniated discs are all too common for baseball players," stated Spine Centers of America Founder and Chief Surgeon Bryan J. Massoud, MD.
Pain and injury
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that more than 414,000 Americans were treated in 2010 for baseball-related injuries. Spine injuries occur among Little League and professional players alike.
The AAOS states that even though baseball is a non-contact sport, most serious injuries its players face are the result of contact with a ball, bat or another player. The sudden impact that compresses and twists the spine and the torque placed on the muscles and ligaments contribute to serious injuries that require extensive treatment and/or surgery.
The normal playing of the game is a major cause of serious injuries even without injury-inducing contact. The twisting needed to generate throwing power in baseball, coupled with the extensive amount of repetitious movement involving the lower back, makes baseball players, especially pitchers, prone to low back strain from torn muscle fibers and herniated discs.
Dr. Massoud stated that athletes of all ages can reduce their risk of spine injury by following these tips when preparing for games and practices:
- Wear the proper equipment
- Warm up and stretch. He strongly emphasized following the AAOS recommendation of performing calisthenics and stretching the hamstrings, shoulders and back before practices and games and suggests that it should be part of an athlete's daily routine. Consulting a doctor and coach can help players develop an individualized plan for stretching.
- Players should avoid excessive use. Overuse of certain muscles can strain them and lead to pain, even during warm-up routines, so players and coaches need to track playing and practice time.
This year's baseball season is approaching its end. For players currently on the disabled list, that means time for recovery. The treatment choices may mean the difference between a speedy recovery versus lengthy rehabilitation or problems down the road.
When facing an injury, athletes should discuss their treatment options with their physician who can suggest appropriate care that may include rest, stretching, physical therapy, chiropractic and/or pain management. For athletes with severe spinal injuries that don't respond to conservative treatment, spine surgery may be necessary.
Dr. Massoud, a board certified orthopedic spine surgeon, stressed that athletes in particular can benefit from advanced minimally invasive spine surgery procedures now available. "These less invasive strategies minimize the amount of muscle, tissue and bone disturbed during surgery and provide the benefits of a quicker recovery and increased mobility, which can be especially important for players hoping for a speedy return to the sport," Dr. Massoud stated. "Recovery can be measured in days and weeks rather than months, greatly reducing the amount of time players spend out of the game."
He explained, "Minimally invasive procedures often are great alternatives to fusion surgery. Many of these procedures can help players retain the spine's full flexibility needed for batting and throwing, as well as preventing conditions such as adjacent segment disease that emerge from the additional strain placed on surrounding vertebrae after fusion."
Dr. Massoud noted, "Even when spinal fusion surgery is necessary, recovery from endoscopic fusion is far faster and less painful than from traditional open spinal fusion, as the incisions are far smaller, there is less cutting of muscles and other tissues, and less risk of infection."
With advanced minimally invasive spine procedures performed by board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, athletes with serious spine conditions can look forward to returning to the field free of pain faster than ever before.
About Spine Centers of America:
Spine Centers of America's Board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons use advanced, proven techniques in minimally invasive endoscopic spine procedures to help people with severe back injuries and conditions quickly return to an active life free of back pain. An early adopter of minimally invasive spine surgery, SCA Founder Dr. Bryan Massoud is among the nation's most experienced spine surgeons performing and teaching endoscopic laser spine procedures. Visit www.SpineCentersOfAmerica.com