Slipped Disc : Judo Injuries

With a contact sport as intensely physical as judo, there is a possibility of sustaining a serious back injury like a slipped (or herniated) disc. This generally arises in people aged from 30 to 50, though younger athletes can also be susceptible in many cases. The discs are cartilage that serve to protect your vertebrae, absorbing pressure during high impact activities.

Symptoms of Slipped Disc

Some cases of a slipped disc are asymptomatic or nearly so, depending on the amount of the disc that slips. This can delay the time taken to have the problem assessed by a doctor. However there are often noticeable symptoms, such as major back pain at a point on the spine, most frequently in the lower back. There may also be severe stabbing pain if the slipped disc compresses onto a nerve. In this eventuality the pain can be linked to any body part connected with that nerve. Muscle paralysis can occur as a result. Pressure on the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica, which can lead to numbness and tingling in the buttocks or legs. Another common symptom is a reduction in normal back motion, and judo participants should soon recognise this due to their reliance on the back.

Causes of Slipped Disc

Slipped discs are caused when the tissue around the disc fails or deteriorates. In judo there are a number of everyday movements that can weaken the tissue and provoke a slipped disc, namely heavy lifting and throwing of other athletes. This puts great strain on the back, especially if the associated muscles are tired or the technique is sometimes poor. Similarly, landing from a throw can cause you problems. A bad landing on the back, e.g. without proper weight distribution, can be damaging. The bending and twisting involved in judo is another potential contributing factor.

Treatment of Slipped Disc

The doctor can often identify a slipped disc from the symptoms but a physical examination can also be helpful (such as the leg raising test to examine pain caused while lifting straight legs). In cases with ambiguous symptoms a suitable scan may be taken in order to make a correct diagnosis. They will usually then recommend a period of rest which can last for 1 to 2 months in ordinary cases. This should not be full inactivity but a reduction in stressful motions, and so will require a break from judo until the doctor says otherwise. Low impact sports like swimming can replace stressful activities, as it is important to keep the back active. Pain medication can help to relieve your symptoms.

Normally the symptoms will soon begin to improve, but approximately 1 in 10 slipped discs are severe enough to require an operation. This will be an option if the symptoms have not improved after 4 to 6 weeks.

Prevention for Slipped Disc

Keep your muscles in optimum condition for demanding sports like judo. Try not to continue an exercising session if your muscles are fatigued. Make sure to fully learn and practise the correct ways to fall and to lift, as these manoeuvres can easily injure your back if performed incorrectly.

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