Do you love to play Pickleball for exercise, entertainment, and fun? If so, learn why playing this popular sport may be bad for your back.
We’ll provide an in-depth look at why lower back pain is a common issue after playing Pickleball and also offer solutions to reduce it while playing. Plus, get tips on back exercises you can do before and after a game of Pickleball.
By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information necessary for improving your posture and protecting your lower back when playing this exciting sport!
Is Pickleball Bad for Your Back?
To stay healthy while playing, it is essential to take extra care of your spine if you are an older player. Physical and mental challenges are both part of the game, as there are a lot of twists and turns, mobility, and precision skills required to succeed.
However, pickleball involves a lot of motion. You do not want to cut corners when playing this sport because it can lead to injury. Many spinal rotations, bends, and even jumps are involved!
It is essential to keep your back relaxed when performing any of these movements. Otherwise, you may suffer from injury or back pain.
Reasons for Lower Back Pain After Playing Pickleball
If you are not careful, pickleball can also cause some lower back pain after playing. Here are some of the possible reasons why pickleball can hurt your back and how to prevent them:
1. Excessive Movements
Pickleball involves a lot of running, jumping, twisting, and turning, which can put a lot of stress on your lower back muscles, joints, and discs. You may overuse or injure your back if you play too long, too hard, or too often. To avoid this, you should limit your playing time, take breaks between games, and vary your intensity and frequency of playing.
2. Dinking Movement
Dinking is a common pickleball technique that involves hitting soft shots over the net that land in the no-volley zone. To do this, you must bend over and twist your spine, which can strain your lower back muscles and discs. If you do this repeatedly or incorrectly, you may cause inflammation or damage to your back.
To prevent this, you should use proper form when dinking, such as bending through your knees instead of your spine, keeping your back straight and your core engaged, and avoiding excessive twisting or jerking of your spine.
3. Lower Spine Impairment
Some people may have underlying conditions or injuries that affect their lower spine, such as poor posture, weak core muscles, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, arthritis, or osteoporosis. These can make them more prone to lower back pain after playing pickleball.
To prevent this, you should consult a doctor if you have any history or symptoms of lower spine impairment before playing pickleball. You should also strengthen your core and lower back muscles with exercises like planks, bridges, squats, and lunges.
These can help you stabilize your spine and pelvis and improve your posture and balance.
How to Reduce Lower Back Pain While Playing Pickleball?
Pickleball can also cause lower back pain while playing if you are not careful. Here are some of the ways you can reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball:
One of the leading causes of lower back pain in pickleball players is bending over too much to hit low balls or pick up balls from the ground. It can strain your lower back muscles and discs and cause inflammation or damage.
To avoid this, you should stop bending through your spine and instead bend through your knees and hips. You should also use an elongated paddle that gives you more reach and less bending. You can also add a ball retriever to your paddle to avoid picking up balls from the ground too often.
Another way to reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball is to warm up properly before each game. It means doing dynamic stretches and light cardio to get your blood flowing and your muscles loose.
It can help prevent muscle strains and sprains and improve mobility and flexibility. Some warm-up exercises are arm circles, marching in place, and looking both ways.
Flexibility and Core Strength
A third way to reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball is to improve your flexibility and core strength. Flexibility can help you reduce muscle tension and improve your range of motion. Core strength can help you stabilize your spine and pelvis and improve your posture and balance.
Some exercises you can do to improve your flexibility and core strength are planks, bridges, squats, lunges, and hamstring stretches.
Back Exercises for Pickleball
Pickleball is a sport that requires a lot of twisting, bending, and reaching movements that can put stress on your lower back. You should strengthen your back and core muscles with some specific exercises to prevent and reduce back pain. Here are some examples:
The plank is a core exercise that engages your abdominal, back, and shoulder muscles. To do a plank, get into a push-up position and hold your body straight and rigid, keeping your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.
Try to hold this position as long as possible while breathing normally. You can also modify the plank by resting on your elbows or knees or lifting one leg or arm at a time.
The Superman is a back exercise that targets your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. To do a Superman:
- In this position, you should be lying on your stomach, with your arms extended in front of you and your legs straight behind you.
- Lift your arms and legs off the ground as high as possible, keeping your head and neck neutral.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower them back to the ground.
- Repeat for several reps.
The Russian twist is a core exercise that works your obliques, the muscles that help you rotate your torso. Lie on your back and bend your knees while doing a Russian twist. Balance yourself on your tailbone by leaning back slightly and lifting your feet off the floor.
Hold your hands together in front of your chest and twist your torso from side to side, moving your hands across your body. Your back should remain straight throughout the movement as you tighten your abs. Repeat for several reps.
The deadlift is a compound exercise that works your entire posterior chain, including your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. To do a deadlift, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell or dumbbell in front of your thighs.
Keeping your back flat and your core braced, hinge at your hips and lower the weight to the floor, bending your knees slightly. Then drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift the weight back up to the starting position.
Keep the weight close to your body, and avoid rounding your back or shrugging your shoulders. Repeat for several reps.
Lunges are a leg exercise that also challenges your balance and stability. To make a lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Bend both knees to lower yourself until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee hovers above the ground.
You should keep your torso upright and your front knee over your ankle. To return to your starting position, you must push through your front heel. Switch legs and repeat for several reps.
Yes, it can. Pickleball is an intense sport involving a lot of twisting, turning, and jumping, which can strain the lower back muscles if proper stretching and warm-up exercises are done afterward. Also, incorrect posture or technique when playing pickleball can lead to lower back pain.
Yes, pickleball can be beneficial for your back. It is a low-impact sport that involves minimal jarring or sudden movements. It helps to strengthen the muscles around your spine, improving your posture and reducing strain on the back.
Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that requires quick reflexes and agility, which can lead to injuries if players do not have proper technique and training. Additionally, since the court is small and there are often multiple players in action at once, it can be easy for balls to hit another player accidentally or for the paddles to get tangled up. It increases the risk of injury due to contact or falls.
Pickleball can cause lower back pain if you don’t warm up, use proper technique, and cool down. You should also do some back exercises to strengthen your muscles and prevent injuries. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program and stop if you feel pain. Enjoy pickleball without hurting your back.
I am a professional physiotherapist and the author of the BallSportsPro. I worked with athletes of all levels, from amateur to professional, and i helped them overcome injuries and improve their performance. I am a certified Pickleball instructor and has been playing the sport for over 10 years.