help me diagnose/solve this year long back injury please? is it my racket?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by not_federer, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. not_federer

    not_federer Rookie

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    I've had back pain for about a year now and it doesn't seem to go away. It is on the right side/flank in the center of my back at the far end of my bottom rib, directly on top of my right kidney. If I'm standing with my arms loosely at my sides, it would be basically touching my right elbow, or a couple inches away.

    I've seen several doctors over the last year including a urologist and I've had an MRI, CT, and ultrasound, and they all come up negative for anything. My kidney is fine, no cancer, no kidney stones, bloodwork is good; I'm young and in great shape overall so I'm going to assume it is a garden variety muscle strain.

    It feels like a knotted/pulled muscle in one tiny spot like someone is pinching me real hard there, or just digging their knuckles into my back. Massaging it feels really good but doesn't solve anything. Anti-inflammatory drugs and other painkillers do nothing. I took a month off from tennis and it still didn't go away.

    Off the tennis court I don't do too much exercise or cross training, but I do run, bike, and swim occasionally and I do situps, pushups, planking, and other core exercises for strengthening.

    I play mostly on hard courts using a Dunlop 200 4d racket. Someone recently suggested this could be the culprit. The dunlop 200 is a heavy racket, 18x20, with very low power and small sweet spot. http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-D4D2.html I have to put my whole body into it to generate pace. Since I'm young and healthy (25, 6', 190lb in good shape) this has never been an issue for me, but if it is the cause of my pain I'll switch rackets.

    Has anyone else experienced this kind of pain in the right flank area? Again it is at the end of my bottom right rib right by my kidney in that area and I have pretty much ruled out the big stuff - kidney problems, cancer, sars, lupus, aids, etc.

    Thank you! Sorry for the lengthy post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Why don't you demo a Dunlop500T from TW here? Hit with it for 4 days, then you'll know.
    I went from 200's to 500's, not never had a back problem to cure with it.
     
    #2
  3. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I can't find a link between racquets and back issues. Maybe it's your mechanics, particularly on your serve?

    Maybe you're "reaching" too much on your serves?
     
    #3
  4. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Hope you feel better, but it's just ludicrous on this forum how every ailment is thought to be curable by changing racquets or strings. Clinicians call this magical thinking. No, this doesn't sound like a racquet issue.
     
    #4
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If it works, it works.
    You know about he placebo effect. It actually works.
     
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  6. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Because everyone one these boards have the perfect technique and whatnot.

    It's only a matter of time before some idiot asks about equipment change after a twisted ankle or strained knee.
     
    #6
  7. ReopeningWed

    ReopeningWed Semi-Pro

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    Learn to deadlift. Get your PR to 300. Come back and ask again.
     
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  8. garywsyu

    garywsyu New User

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    hang yourself on a chin-up bar, pull one or two inches up to perform rib cage stretch on the spot; learn to meditate as long as you could while being hung.
     
    #8
  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Tennis results in muscle imbalances, as we are either right or left handed. And hitting strengthens the forward moving muscles, and tends to "over-stretch" the muscles of our back and at the back of our shoulder.

    To prevent overuse injuries, muscle balance should include more off court conditioning than you are doing. (Although some seem to be lucky enough to get away without it, many eventually suffer some type of overuse injury.)

    Suzanna McGee, who sometimes contributes here, has a nice article on what may be a relatively "quick fix" for you:
    Upper Back Myofascial Release to Relieve Neck and Back Pain
    http://www.examiner.com/article/upper-back-myofascial-release-to-relieve-neck-and-back-pain


    A too-simple-to-really-work set of exercises for your back is to do "cats and dogs".
    But they really can do wonders to stretch out the back back muscles with a set of easy to do exercises that can help start to loosen up your back.
    Prevent Tight Neck and Painful Shoulders with Elbow Curls, Arm Circles and Cats-and-Dogs http://www.tennisfitnesslove.com/20...th-elbow-curls-arm-circles-and-cats-and-dogs/


    PostureGuy who often contributes here is an Egoscue Therapist. He frequently advises the following book which goes into some detail (but very easy to understand) on how muscle imbalances lead to many of the pain problems that plague us. If the imbalances are not initially corrected with exercises like the Cats and Dogs, moving on to squats and dead lifts can result in initially more pain.
    Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain [Paperback]
    Pete Egoscue (Author), Roger Gittines (Author) http://www.amazon.com/Pain-Free-Revolutionary-Stopping-Chronic/dp/0553379887
    For less than 10 bucks I think you will be happy you got the book, as it approaches problems from a different direction than most orthopods and sports medicine specialists who usually look for more "serious" tears and fractures, rather than treating the common muscle imbalances that ultimately result in overuse injuries.


    Once you get over your current back problem, consider this a "wake up call" to do a little more off court conditionitiong. This doesn't mean you have to kill yourslef - a regimen as simple as the following could help prevent future problems:
    Strength and Power for Injury-free Tennis EBook http://www.tennisfitnesslove.com/2011/03/strength-and-power-for-injury-free-tennis-ebook/
    [At $2.99 for the down load, Suzanna is not going to get rich on this - a real bargain.]


    Good luck!
     
    #9
  10. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    This does not sound likely because your pain seems higher.

    Sit ups use the hip flexor muscles. These muscles attach to the lower back. With some people sit ups can cause injury. Some people do this exercise for their abs but to do sit ups the abs only need an isometric contraction for stabilization. Any exercise that works by reducing the angle between the trunk and upper leg probably involves mostly the hip flexors.

    Why not stop sit ups? Find another exercise for your hip flexors that does not stress the lower back? Substitute crunches which are better for the abs.

    Another very complex issue is nerve pain. If a nerve is pinched somewhere it can cause pain or numbness to areas of the body farther away from the brain than that pinched area. For example, numbness in a particular finger may be associated with a pinched nerve in the elbow or shoulder. There are illustrations in anatomy references that relate the affected area of the body to the likely location of the nerve problem, often near a vertebra.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And works even when the patients were told it was a placebo, according to a recent study!
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The mind can overcome many physical ailments.
    A strong mind can do even more.
     
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  13. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Andy Murray must have a strong mind then, haha.

    "Oh my god there's a sniper in the crowd!"

    Hits an ace/winner "No I'm ok. My back/legs are fine."
     
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