Playing through back stiffness?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by skandy, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. skandy

    skandy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Exton, PA
    Played tennis yesterday night, my opponent was a bit late and I was tired, so I lay on a court for ~10 minutes (yesterday was the first day this season when it was relatively cold, before that we would often play at 95F/35C) and didn't warm up properly. I think that that, along with me arching my back on the serve way more than usual (have been experimenting with the serve), contributed to me developing a stiff back in the beginning of the match. I never experienced it before, it wasn't too bad, although clearly limiting, and I wasn't in pain, so we still played a three-setter; it didn't get worse but didn't get better, either.

    Took a hot bath yesterday, it feels slightly better today. My question is - will I be potentially putting my back health at risk by hitting in the next few days (just hitting, no serves) or should I better wait till it goes away completely? I did the initial googling but the results are inconclusive.

    I'm a 34yo guy in a good shape, reasonably flexible, strong back muscles, NTRP 4.5 I guess, usually play tennis 6-7 times a week for 2-3 hours.
     
    #1
  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    5,926
    Results are inconclusive because nobody can say what's doing with your back. Perhaps nothing of consequence, though playing essentially every day for up to three hours means you are already "putting your back health at risk."
     
    #2
  3. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,969
    Seriously?

    I bet you must drink a lot of coconut water or you'd never recover.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
    #3
  4. skandy

    skandy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Exton, PA
    Well I think I exaggerated a bit, it's more like 5-6 times a week, pretty much any day when it's not raining (13 of 14 last days) and sometimes I would take a day off if I feel more tired that usual (the tiredness in my original post had nothing to do with tennis, I just didn't have enough sleep the night before). I started recovering better towards the end of the season, in the beginning I couldn't play every day for more than a week.

    I'm not taking any special nutrients, hmm I will consider coconut water, thanks!
     
    #4
  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,561
    Location:
    Central Florida

    The coconut water was a joke. I'm just now getting over some muscle strains in my back. Try REST and self massage of the area and see if you notice any improvement before heading to the doctor.
     
    #5
  6. F. Perry

    F. Perry Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Messages:
    83
    I saw a PT for back trouble a few years ago and she had me ice it several times a day--she said ice was the only way to reduce inflammation, while heat was good for relaxing the muscles. I since read in an article in the Times that medicine still doesn't actually know which is better for a muscle strain, heat or ice, but I still find a bag of ice the best thing to reduce inflammation, which is what your problem sounds like.
     
    #6
  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,639
    It sounds like you could use a couple of days off - why not take them now and let your back recover?


    The majority of sore backs are due to muscle strains. There usually is some residual "spasm". That is why back discomfort usually responds best to heat, even though most other area best respond to ice.
    Perhaps part of the problem is that the back muscles are too deep to really cool down - areas of the arm or leg are usually closer to the surface and can better be surrounded by ice than the back. (Ice application is usually for 15 minutes or less - a heating pad can be left on a long time.)

    The ITF has some good recommendations for tennis problems to treat and prevent lower back problems:
    Lower Back Pain http://www.itftennis.com/scienceandmedicine/injury/cards/back.asp
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    #7
  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,561
    Location:
    Central Florida

    I find the bolded part to be true for me. Ice did not help much but heat definitely went a long way to loosening everything up.
     
    #8
  9. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,390
    Voltaren gel?
     
    #9
  10. skandy

    skandy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Exton, PA
    Reporting in - I did hit (light hit, no serves) the next day after I got the stiffness; on my way to the courts I stopped at home, took hot bath and got some Advil. That seemed to work just great, the stiffness went away almost completely for the night, of course I was still very careful. Next morning it got much better (also I took a scheduled break) and today it almost doesn't bother me at all, so I will be hitting (again, no serves) later today after I take hot bath.

    So, looks like it was nothing serious this time, just an overuse at cold weather (I will however be more careful with warmups and kick serves); heat seemed to help really well!
     
    #10
  11. DRII

    DRII Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    6,432
    I would be careful...

    Why not go to the doctor just to be safe.

    I tweaked my back a few years ago after a hard workout (trying a new style of squat) and decided to go to the doctor, turrns out I had left side sciatica and probably for a while. I've been visiting the chiro and took up pilates ever since.

    Once we get pass or close to 30, we really need to take care of ourselves...
     
    #11
  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,398
    STRETCH the hamstrings! after every workout of any kind.

    Warm up prior, but stretch after!
     
    #12

Share This Page