Lower Back Pain Upon Serving

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by bqian, May 31, 2012.

  1. bqian

    bqian New User

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    Hi All,
    I have this lower back pain that occurs when I serve. It does not occur consistently, and it only occurs when I hit a very hard first serve, with a jumping motion. However, IT ONLY OCCURS WHEN I LAND (on my left foot). The pain is on the lower left side, and I am right handed. Once it happens once, even weaker serves with no jumps hurt a little, and if I repeat a hard serve, then there will be pain upon walking.

    Anyone can help with this? I rested for two weeks already, iced it, then put icy hot on it on advice of the physician.

    It still hurts, and I am afraid to play any more tennis. The physician keeps referring me to expensive specialists, and so I have to rely on this board or quit.


    Thanks a lot,
    Brian
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Rest for pulled muscles or tendons/ligaments tend to take about 4 times as long as you gave it, especially for the older crowd. Give it the other 3.
     
    #2
  3. Minhdingo

    Minhdingo New User

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    What type of serve motion are you using? I used to slide my back foot up service motion. Some people call that motion different things - Pat Dougherty calls it the simplified spring loaded, others call it the step up. Either way, I feel that motion does put a lot of stress on the lower back due to the torque needed. After I hurt my back, I did a lot of core exercises for rehab and changed to a platform stance motion. No more pain. Not sure which one of those two things helped but I'm sure strengthening your core couldn't hurt.
     
    #3
  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Video your motion

    When you have recovered and start back take some videos of your serves and compare them to serves with good technique regarding trunk and back motion.

    I threw my back out briefly some years ago trying to learn a new serving technique.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
    #4
  5. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    You may consider not jumping on your serves. Some of the greatest servers barely got off the ground. It's not the jump or the drop, but the landing that gets you :)
     
    #5
  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Just as LeeD said, it will take more time for your back to heal.

    So first of all, give yourself more time.


    The service motion is incredibly violent.

    You definitely need strong back muscles and core muscles.

    Before you go back to serving, you likely need to go through a period of strengthening to prevent an early recurrence, once the pain has gone away.

    Squats and lunges are great exercises to help strengthen you legs, core (including back) and the muscles that connect the legs and core.

    Also while not playing, your arms and other muscles are more prone to injury upon your eventual return.

    Therefore give serious thought to getting in better shape with a regimen similar to the following:
    Phase 1 - Foundational Strength http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-weight-training.html




    While you are getting your back in better shape, you may still be able to play with a serve incorporationg all the right elements but a big jump:
    Serve Doctor's Simplified Spring-loaded Serve Technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixx-MCC7D88
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
    #6
  7. bqian

    bqian New User

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    Thanks everyone to all the great replies; I will take a break from tennis for an uncertain amount of time. I did not know about all the problems that could occur in the back because I have never heard of anyone with back problems from a serve.

    On another note, what is "platform" serving? Will this lessen my pain? I remember that even if I do not get pain, there will be a tightening of the muscles as I do more serves, which means my back is too weak.

    Thanks a lot.
     
    #7
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    When the back get's sore, work the stomach muscles. Your goal is 50 situps in one session.
    Lay halfway off your bed, hands on floor. Lift up your upper body 10 times, then work progressively to more, up to 50.
    Platform is a serve where the feet don't close during the motion, like Federer's.
    You might just be cured if you STRETCH before hitting any kind of serves. Just touch your toes 5 times, or in my case, my shins mid ankle.
     
    #8
  9. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    I had stiff back after I tried to improve my serve from pinpoint to platform. I was trying to force what I thought was the right mechanics but my rhythm was completely wrong for the platform
    I arch my back to much and did not use my hips and core back muscles correctly.
    I play with pinpoint type serve as my timing is way better with pinpoint serve. I notice that platformers use a 1.....2 rhythm while pinpointers use a 1....2......3.step to their timing Very different rhythm and can hurt your body if you dont match the proper motion to your prefer rhythm
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
    #9
  10. rtl11

    rtl11 New User

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    weak back muscles for platform serve

    I have similar problem - when doing a lot of serving my lower back starts to hurt and feels tight. I am sure it is the muscles as it recovers a few hours later.

    I think the problem is that my ab/lower back muscles are week and my hips are tight, so I get an arch in the lower back when leaning back, instead of a squat and a neutral back.

    I am doing a lot of ab crunches and hip stretching. Any other suggestions?

    I don't like pinpoint serve as I don't have good balance moving my feet.
     
    #10
  11. rtl11

    rtl11 New User

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    I am also adding planks.
     
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  12. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    When I searched back pain serving on the TW "Search" above I found 500 posts.

    Don't diagnose or take treatments from the internet but use information to start or continue your research.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
    #12
  13. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    The abs are antagonistic muscles to the spinal erectors. The abs, mostly the rectus abdominus, bend the spine slightly forward ('round' the back) and the spinal erectors bend it slightly backward ('arch' the back). Abs and spinal erectors should be strengthened together for balance. [Any bending between the trunk and upper leg is mostly due to hip flexors and antagonists and is often confused by exercisers as ab work.] To work the spinal erectors a Roman chair exercise is often used with a barbell plate for added resistance. The RC exercise more works the spinal erectors in an isometric support way - the spine does not extend much - as the glutes and hamstrings supply a lot of the movement. See bodybuilder.com and search muscles and exercises.

    Endurance is important as the muscles get tired late in a tennis match.

    It is important not to do exercises or stretches when injured without seeing a Dr, getting a diagnosis and having a physical therapist supervise the exercises. Stretches and exercises that are intended for strengthening or preventive conditioning of healthy muscles, tendons and joints may do additional damage to injuries.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
    #13
  14. cheers

    cheers New User

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    Safin

    I had the same issue. I'm in pretty good shape, I work out 3-4 times a week and I focus on my core and compound movements. But what helped the most was something very simple and stupid. Stick out your butt in your ready stance when you're about to serve. I'm serious. That simple change put my back/core muscles in a better position to serve without straining or overextending my lower left back muscle. I watched Safin's service motion as a reference.

    Give it a try. I exaggerated it at first to get used to the motion and gradually, the pain just went away. I tried acupuncture, massage therapy, more core exercises, etc and sticking out my butt helped the most.
     
    #14

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