People of all ages are more active now than previous generations. This has increased our expected life span and overall wellness, but sports also present unique risks for a host of injuries. One of the questions that we often hear from athletes who are passionate about their sport or favored physical activity is “when can I get back to it?” As you may expect, the answer isn’t as cut-and-dry as the question.
The back is one of the most complex areas of the body. There are numerous moving parts and they all work in conjunction to facilitate mobility and flexibility. Any extent of injury to any particular part of the spine could lead to months of limitations. We don’t want that for our patients and, as much as possible, try to get athletes back to their game within a matter of weeks. However, safety and long-term health are our priorities and we must look at several factors that affect any person’s return to full activity. These include:
- The type of injury that has occurred
- The extent of damage caused by the injury
- The patient’s overall health and physical condition at the time of treatment
- The type of treatment required to repair the injury
- The type of sport or activity the patient wants to resume
- The potential for aggravation to the injury during recovery
Recovery is a Balancing Act
The more active a person is, the more they may need to balance their recovery process. Too slow and too much time away from active conditioning could lead to a temporary setback in performance. There may be more ground to make up once the athlete is cleared for activity. Conversely, moving too quickly toward a full recovery can create an obstacle by aggravating the initial injury. There is no way to force the body into recovery. Taking on too much could ultimately prolong the degree of healing that is needed to fully resume an active lifestyle. Perhaps no one is better at finding their personal “sweet spot” than an amateur or professional athlete. Finding yours is the key to getting the results you want after treatment for a back injury.
Contact the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC at 212-606-1004. Together, we can find a way through the obstacle of your back injury.