There are many misconceptions around cricket, and perhaps the biggest one is the physical stress that the sport has upon its players. As we near the end of the cricket season, some fast bowlers may be experiencing back pain.
Due to a combination of the techniques required and the physical movements involved, bowlers are susceptible to lower back pain. Furthermore, fast bowlers in particular often suffer from lumbar stress fractures. Stress fractures are like any other fracture in that it is a break in the bone, but these are breaks that develop over time rather than as a result of one specific injury or action.
What Leads to Lower Back Pain?
Lumbar stress fractures in bowlers are caused by a few reasons: namely the age of the athlete, an overload of deliveries bowled and the technique used by the bowler.
The technique in question is the mixed technique, where the lower half of their body is predominantly front-on to the batsman while their top half is side on. The pressure generated on the trunk of the body through this bowling motion leads to increased stress on the lower back.
In a low back (lumbar) stress fracture, pain will usually develop on one side of the back initially. However, if this is not treated in time, it can progress to both sides of the back. Once it reaches this stage it is much more difficult to treat and the healing rate drops, with the possibility of a permanent defect forming in the pars.
Treatment for Lower Back Pain
According to Bathurst Chiropractor Dr Ben Purcell, treatment for lumbar stress fractures involves four phases.
- In the first phase, it is important that the site of the fracture is protected and pain relief is provided. This means that a complete rest is required from bowling, and any other activities that could aggravate the injury such as running.
- Phase two is where Dr Purcell will work with the player to restore the normal range of motion, strength and control required to recommence normal daily activities. Correcting pre-existing muscular imbalances and improving the core strength of the player will be a priority. This will help to decrease the possibility of further stress fractures in the future as well.
- In the third phase, the player will be allowed to begin running, and modified bowling techniques can be introduced to gradually get the bowler back to optimal functional levels. Underlying technical faults that have led to stress fractures will be addressed, as proactive work on these issues is far better than reacting to the next stress fracture!
- Finally, in phase four, the bowler will be allowed to return to play under the advice of their chiropractor and their own coach as well.
If you have been affected by lower back pain and need help with any issues, call (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment.