What Sports Improve Posture and Back Health

What is the relationship between back pain and the practice of sports? Can sport activities help treat or prevent spinal problems? Or when, rather, it becomes necessary to do targeted gymnastics as part of an exercise to be defined, however, not sporting, but therapeutic? 

Can back pain be caused by sports?

In most cases, lower back pain appears because of postural causes, i.e. incorrect positions maintained over time, for example due to the type of work. It can be said that lower back pain is the result of a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise is usually the therapeutic weapon for removing the cause of back pain. 

Physical activity is a good way to prevent lower back pain, but contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to do any exercise or say ‘I’m going to swim’, ‘I’m going to play football’, ‘I’m going to the gym’ to get rid of back pain. Traditionally though, these activities are listed as the best suited for the back health: swimming, yoga, cycling, and gymnastics. 

But is there a sport that more than another can be considered useful for the good of the column? Controversially, there is no sport ‘good for the back’. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy spine if it acts: 

Sedentary activity and abnormal postures, in fact, cause progressive contractures of these muscles, therefore, the more they are relaxed, the better they are off and the better they can withstand the stresses that daily life gives to the lower lumbar segment. If there is pain, however, medical evaluation of the problem and targeted therapeutic other intervention than sports is required.

Can sport hurt a healthy cervical spine?

Any type of sporting activity, whether practiced at a competitive or amateur level, affects the spine, even swimming, which has always been recommended as a safeguard for the spine. Sport in general, however, from children to the elderly, is good for health.

There are countless articles in the literature that document the effectiveness of sports, such us the research by Thomas E. Dreisinger, PhD, called Exercise in the Management of Chronic Back Pain. Performed with caution, it promotes the harmonious development of the muscular and skeletal system, the health of the cardiovascular system and the well-being of the whole body. You need to make sure though that you act according to the fundamental criterion of compatibility with the age and general conditions. 

That said, beyond the common expectations, there are many sports, both team and individual, such as football, skiing, basketball, cycling, which, despite having a greater incidence of risks on other parts of the body, can still damage the healthy spine. This can happen due to the incidence in the practice of continuous microtraumas (e.g. competitive swimming), sudden movements (basketball actions), incorrect postures (bicycle), direct traumas (such as falling on skis).