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Back pain advice

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dancing9118000

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My back has always hurt me when doing simple things like back walkovers- which are needed for level 7- on beam but in the past three weeks the pain seems to have worsened. I have a very flexible back so my coaches don't know why it worsened and I don't remember a specific incident that could have caused it.
The pain is localized to only one vertebrae in the middle back and is very sensitive to pressure. I can't even do crunches on a foam mat because it presses the vertebrae to the floor. It hurts when I bend forward and backwards too. I can work through it though. I competed yesterday with a lot of pain but it wasn't bad enough to keep me out. I also notice that it hurts when I land jumps and my tumbling.
I'm really worried about what is causing this but I don't want to go to the doctor because they are going to just say stay off it which isn't easy. Any ideas on the cause of pain? I was thinking maybe a stress fracture because I had that on my wrist last year and the pain was very similar but I'm not sure if it is the same with the spine.
 
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gracefulone

Guest
I know you don't want to, but you really should have it checked out. I got dropped at cheerleading, and didn't see a doctor for over a month. I had to avoid running, jumping, pounding of any sort, and bending for 3 months. I was told that if I had come in right away, it would have been less. It sucked....I missed the homecoming pep rally and I had choreographed the entire routine, and I missed my first 3 meets of the gymnastics season, but when I came back, I could finally get through entire practices again, so it was worth it.
 
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Rec Coach

Guest
I don't want to go to the doctor because they are going to just say stay off it which isn't easy.

I know the feeling. But it is important to get it checked out. Maybe ask around your area for a recommendation for someone who specializes in sports medicine.
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
I guess your feeling of what the doctor would say would be a typical assumption, but honestly, if you see a sports medicine physician I think you may be surprized at the recomendations. They know your an athlete, and that just resting isn't what you want to hear. It may be what you need, but I wouldn't assume they will definately say what you don't want to hear.

Have you tried hanging leg lifts on stall bars instead of crunches and V-ups?

Just hanging alone and inverted hangs is great for relieving back pain. And just as a matter of mention, hanging leg lifts have been proven to be 5X (yes five!) more effective then doing crunches or v-ups on the floor. (i.e. 5 leg lifts = 25 traditional crunches, with much less stress on your back)
 

kiwiflyer

Member
Jul 21, 2008
66
New Zealand
I agree with all the other posters. Whether you go and see a sports doctor or a physical therapist, it's important that you get it sorted. You may well be surprised what the doctor or physio has to say.
 
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dancing9118000

Guest
I'm going today. I'll tell you how it works out. Let's hope for the best!
 
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dancing9118000

Guest
I went to the doctor :( I need a SPECT scan of my spine to check for probable spondylolsis. I'll be out for 2 long months. So much for my competition season.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Agreed, crunches are good for the extremely weak, recuperating or...weenies. Ok for working the hollow rounding of a hollow but useless after that.

Get thee to a chiropractor specializing in sports medicine or something like gymnastics. Wouldn't be surprised if something is out of alignment.

Beam backwalkovers tend to require a lot of back flexion. That's just it. Many aspiring L7's either have to be able to do it without pain or retire or do some other sort of skill that doesn't necessarily go anywhere ( like CW-CW, FWO is good ). It's a make it or break it skill in L6 as well for those inflexible.

Even if it requires a lot of back flexion, there still should be more shoulder open and extension and without it there is more pressure on the back. This can be fine for the teeny-tinies but once you're bigger than a chinese gymnast, can be problematic. I've seen quite a lot of preteen girls end up suffering from some sort of back problem that is found out after a looksie when having problems with BWO. Slipped disc, out of alignment, etc, etc. Quite often these problems go unnoticed till the beam BWO unless they have really tight shoulders and it bothers them in the L5/6 floor BWO.

Simply hanging from a bar and swinging your shoulders and hips out can self correct a lot of things which your body will always try to do anyways.

Rolling on a foam roller is a great idea for fixing a lot of simple things. It might not solve your problem but it's worth a try for 10 bucks on ebay. These things are wonders but the store bought red foam rollers don't last long because the foam is too soft. Might be ok on smaller people but not great with adults of any size.

YouTube - Foam Roller Techniques for the Back It's like heaven when something loosens up on these and it's a lot better than trying to have someone lift you up and pop your back. It's also a lot easier than requiring a partner to hand pop your back like they taught us in jujutsu.
 
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dancing9118000

Guest
Wow. You got my problems in a nutshell right in the last post. One of my vertebrae is out of alignment which the orthopedic says is probably from a stress fracture. And I am flexible enough to do the walkovers but just as the back pain was worsening, a new coach came over and told me that I'm not using my upper back flexibility for the skill which is putting all the bend on my lower back. It didnt hurt as much when I did it and concentrated on my upper back but it was still too late in the injury. And I am 5'7" so I am MUCH taller than a chinese gymnast which is probably why I have had general back pain from them since i started (but i was still in the 5 foot range when I did because I only started a few years ago). I will definatly try hanging and also the foam rollers because my gym has them and manypeople swear on them but I've never actually tried them. Thank you!
 

jls1969

Member
Sep 27, 2007
105
My DD has spondylosis...or a stress fracture in the lower back. She has one on each side of her L4---one is old and will never heal, the other was new and is trying to heal. She was diagnosed in June and was cleared for full on gymnastics at the end of October. She missed the L6 season...but I told her how important it was for her to heal properly. Her coach also understood the importance of healing and easing back into the sport. She also went to a PT and did TONS of core work---I think she could lift a truck with her abs if she had to.:)

She just had a small flare up (common I am told) and had to sit out for 1 week. Her doctor said it is common in gymnastics with slim builds and in the preteen ages. She is getting ready to compete for her L7 season...

I know it is not fun to miss a season---I went through that with my DD and it was hard. But----it is more important to have your back for the rest of your life. Best wishes your way...be patient and do all the doctor tells you....I am really sorry
 
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dancing9118000

Guest
OOh. That's good to know. I'm not worried about losing my leg strength or arm strength becasue I have the OK from the doctor to do conditioning that doesn't bend my back with a theraband but I was worried of my stomach muscles because I cant do things like crunches, v ups or leg lifts becasue it bends my back too much.
 

jls1969

Member
Sep 27, 2007
105
You should ask your Dr first, but mine did planches, leg lifts (she just lifted her ankles) with her lower back pushed into the ground, and balancing on a large workout ball. As the therapy went on, she added other things, but all in front of the PT so he could check her position. When she was at the gym, she did squats, toe raises, arm weights and riding the bike...just to name a few. Her coach was very familiar with the injury and took things very slowly and carefully. I am just a mom---and I can only speak from my dd's injury. I STRONGLY encourage you to ask your Dr BEFORE doing anything. That is just the mom in me coming out :) Best of luck!
 
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beamgymnast

Guest
I went to the doctor :( I need a SPECT scan of my spine to check for probable spondylolsis. I'll be out for 2 long months. So much for my competition season.

I know how you feel - I'm in a back brace for spondylolsis fracture on my L5,
About 1 year ago, (April 2008) I was having back pain.I went to the orthopedic doctors and after x-rays, bone scans, mri's, etc,... they diagnosed me with a pars fracture on L5. I was out for about 3 monthes, and started Physical Therapy and slowy went back into gymnastics. I was pain-free for about 6 monthes. In November 2008, my back started to bug me again. I went back to the same doctors, but they assured me that it was just muscle pain. After still have pain, I switched doctors twice and am now with a specialist in sports backs. I am now in a back brace- 23 hours a week for 12 weeks, then start PT up again, along with PT, 12 hours a day for 12 more weeks. It is frusterating and not always comfortable, but I'll do whatever it takes to get back to gymnastics

Get well soon! You'll go back to the gym even stronger than before:)
 
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