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Football is a fun, but physically challenging, sport that many middle aged guys like to play late into life. However they may be putting their spine at risk due to a serious problem known as degenerative disc disease.
The Spine Stiffens as it Ages
Degenerative disc disease happens when the spine stiffens later in life. This occurs as the spine begins to dry up slightly over time and the weight of the rest of the spine thins individual discs. It is not an uncommon disease and it is one that affects most people as they age. For some it may not be serious, but for others symptoms can occur early in middle age.
For those who want to stay active on the football field on the weekend, it can be problematic because it will put their spinal cord at serious risk of injury. This is especially true if they aren't wearing protective gear or play full-contact football, rather than tag or touch varieties.
Football Is a High-Risk Sport in the Best of Times
The high-impact nature of football makes it one of the most dangerous for the spine. Estimates claim that 10-15 percent of football players will suffer from some type of spinal injury in their life. These injuries are rarely very serious, but can be debilitating in many instances. These statistics refer specifically to players who are very healthy and in great physical shape.
Occasional football players are likely not in prime physical shape. Even worse they are likely a little older and already suffering from early symptoms of degenerative disc disease. This increases their risk of serious spinal injury while playing football.
Avoiding Injuries to the Spine
While spinal injuries have heavily decreased in football over the years (due to a better understanding of their causes and how to prevent them), this improvement is mostly focused in younger players in the prime of their lives. Older players may still suffer from injuries even if they get physical exams or "keep their head" out of the game—avoid leading with their head during runs and tackles.
That's why it is so important to get degenerative disc treatment to ensure that no serious problems affect the spine during a sporting event. For example, chiropractors can manipulate the spinal and the joints to help alleviate much of the pain and decrease restriction. They can also use therapy such as "trigger-point therapy" to identify painful points on the muscle around the affected disc and relieve the pressure.
More serious instances of degenerative spinal disease may requires treatments like electrical stimulation and ultrasound waves that help relieve muscle tension and increase circulation. This helps make it possible for recreational football players to have a little fun without worrying about serious injury. To learn more, contact services like SpineCare Chiropractic Daniel S. Wright, D.C.Share
6 January 2017