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Is Badminton Bad for Your Back? (Causes, Prevention Tips,…)

Recently, I started having sharp pain in the upper back, which got aggravated while I was playing badminton. A fellow player seeing me wince a few times while playing mentioned that badminton can be bad for the back. I was intrigued and surprised by his statement. But since I enjoy the game, I was not ready to stop playing. I decided to do some digging into this for myself. I wanted to know whether playing badminton can be identified as a specific cause for back problems.

As with any exercise or activity, badminton has a lot of health benefits and is not necessarily the cause of back problems. The back problems that are caused during playing badminton are primarily due to bad form and improper technique. In fact, most of the back issues players face can be traced to this. The other causes can be due to improper warm-ups before and cool downs after a game, excessive body weight, and overtraining.

Do you know that the benefits of badminton for the back, far outweigh the negative?

Badminton has a lot of health benefits and strengthens the core muscles such as the quads, glutes, and back muscles. Playing badminton has also been found to reduce stress and anxiety, quickens reflexes, and improves muscle tone.

When Badminton might be bad for your back

The problem is not with badminton at all. Any sport that you play can either benefit you or harm you depending on how you play it and the mindset with which you engage in the activity. Since the game of badminton utilizes the legs, arm, and back muscles a lot, the chances of injury to these are certainly there.

But you have to take precautions to ensure that the game remains enjoyable and not a cause for suffering. So, when can badminton be bad for your back?

Here are some instances which can lead to back issues while playing badminton. Please remember that these are also applicable to almost all outdoor sports and activities one engages in.

1. Lack of proper form

Untrained and inexperienced players need to focus on learning the proper form and technique. Even experienced players may lack proper technique, and this leads to unwanted injuries and accidents on the court. The correct stance while serving, adequate leg and arm positions while swinging, etc. are important to learn and master the game. This prevents undue strain on certain muscle groups and body parts.

It is always advisable to get proper training, as well as taking lessons when you are a beginner. This will ensure that you learn the correct techniques when you get started in the game. Once the wrong habits are formed, it becomes difficult to change them later.

2. Pushing your body to extreme limits

Some players push themselves during the games beyond what their bodies are ready for. The extreme intensity with which they play can lead to disregarding their bodies.

Pushing their bodies and continually putting the body under high stress leads to all kinds of injuries. This includes injuries and problems to the back as well. Heavy falls, sudden twists, and turns can lead to tears and strains on the back muscles. Winning is not everything.

Being wise and slowly increasing the physical capacity for enduring stress is a better way to play injury-free longer.

3. Body weight issues

In several cases of severe back pain, doctors usually suggest losing weight. While playing badminton, there is constant stress on the back muscles. If you are overweight, the probability of straining the back muscles and disc injuries becomes very high.

Extra weight accumulated around the stomach can strain the lower back pain or even affect spinal structures.

Also, the constant jumps and leaps that you have to make while playing badminton can add stress on the back.

A good way to check if you are overweight is to check your BMI or body mass index. If your body mass index is above 25, you may need to focus on reducing the weight to ensure that back injuries are prevented.

4. Improper equipment and gear

Good shoes and the right racquet are crucial to injury-free playing. Sturdy shoes that are uncomfortable and unwieldy racquets can affect your form and the game. Choose known brands and tested models when choosing your racquets. Too heavy or too light racquets can affect your balance during the game.

Shoes have to be comfortable and adequately padded to absorb the impact of jumps and provide sufficient grip to the player when making sudden moves. There is a tendency to slip and fall if the grip is not adequate or the shoes are too old. Extreme caution has to be taken to keep your shoes and racquet in good condition.

Another step is to play on well-maintained badminton courts. Accidents and falls can be avoided if you are playing on a good badminton court. This may require you to shell out some money and obtain a membership in a sports club. But if you are passionate about the game, it is definitely worth it.

Badminton: 8 Prevention tips to avoid back issues

These are tips and ideas to prevent (and decrease the chances of) back issues while playing badminton:

1. Use the correct technique

If you do not know what is correct, then get trained on the proper form and technique by attending badminton coaching classes conducted by professional instructors and coaches.

2. Warm up & Cool down

Warm up before, and cool down after each game or practice. Do not launch into intense activities without adequate warm-ups. Observe any professional athlete. You will find that they will engage in elaborate warm-ups before the competition. This is because they know that going in without proper warm-ups exponentially increases the chances of injuries.

3. Strengthening exercises

When you do strengthening exercises like Pilates to strengthen the core muscles of the stomach and back, it helps to ensure that the muscles can handle the strain of the game better.

4. Play less frequently and take more rest

In case you feel back pain of any sort cut down on the frequency of playing and ensure that you get adequate rest. If you play every day, try to cut it down to alternate days or every third day. Do whatever it takes so that the pain does not get aggravated.

5. Practice Yoga

Consider doing Yoga to keep the bones and muscles flexible and supple. Yoga has been practiced from ancient times for health. The effects of Yoga on improving muscular and nervous systems have been demonstrably proven.

6. Lose weight

Lose weight if your BMI is high. Being overweight can lead to injuries, and it is advisable to watch your diet and reduce a few pounds until you are close to your ideal BMI. This can help improve your game too.

7. Get the right equipment

Don’t compromise on money when buying badminton gear. Invest in known and tested brands so that you can play comfortably and safely.

8. Daily moderate exercise

Daily moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes is essential for overall health and well-being. Ensure that this is not strenuous and utilizes as many muscle groups as possible. Walking, jogging, swimming, etc., are beneficial and help to balance and relax the major muscles.

Should you play Badminton if you have back pain?

The answer to the question is that – it depends. Is the back pain mild and temporary? If so, you can resume playing once the pain goes away.

If the pain is severe and does not subside in a few days, do not aggravate it by playing. You need to go to a chiropractor and find out why the pain exists and seek treatment where necessary. In some cases, you may be allowed to play wearing a back supporter but ensure that you do exactly as the chiropractor instructs.

Take caution. Exerting too much can lead to severe muscular pain and affect your spinal health. Get treatment immediately. This way, you can ensure that you can enjoy playing the game longer.

Two main types of back pain while playing Badminton

1. Upper back pain

What is usually termed as the ‘upper back’ is the area between the neck and the rib cage. The upper back can be injured by excessive use of the back muscles and overly strenuous games. It can occur due to lifting heavy objects, slipping and falling, and muscle strain.

Ensuring that you maintain proper posture and technique while playing, resting frequently, and using the right gear should help you prevent upper back issues to a great extent.

2. Lower back pain

‘Lower back’ is the area from the base of the rib cage to the end of the spine. Pain and injuries in this area can immobilize you, so extreme care has to be taken to protect your lower back.

Usually, lower back pain due to badminton is caused by sudden movements, twists or falls, and imbalance in posture mainly due to excessive body weight. Ensure that you stretch and do proper stretching before and after the game. Rest till the pain subsides and in case of continued pain get treated without delay. Timely attention is critical to ensure that serious problems don’t ensue.