Back Injury: A Leading Risk of Hiking and Extreme Outdoor Sports

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Injuries are always a possibility in any type of physical activity. From concussions from a football game, breaking a limb in a bike accident, to straining back muscles while doing yard work, it can feel like a crisis is just one error in movement away. Though some injuries are unavoidable, some can be easily prevented by wearing protective gear, staying alert, choosing an appropriate level of difficulty in sports challenge, and stretching beforehand.

Seeking out the guidance of a licensed chiropractor can be a pertinent step in achieving a safer exercise routine. Regular visits to a chiropractor can help treat and sometimes prevent musculo-skeletal injuries. A chiropractor can advise their patients on safety practices to avoid injury to the body while participating in sports activities. Often they have knowledge of the latest innovations in protective gear. They can also assign exercises to increase core strength and prevent spinal damage.

Since ancient times, chiropractic principles have been used to help individuals alleviate their back pain. The last 50 years have brought drastic improvements to the field of spinal care.

Modern-day chiropractic doctors use an instrument known as an Activator to make adjustments to the vertebrae. The chiropractor can use this hand-held device to precisely adjust a specific area of the patient’s spine without causing them virtually any discomfort.


The Impulse IQ is another popular tool used in adjusting the spine. The groundbreaking technology used in this small but mighty tool enables chiropractors to not only make adjustments to the vertebrae, but loosen up spasmodic muscles as well. This is a crucial feature since muscle spasms often are responsible for pulling the spine out of alignment and causing significant pain.

Many chiropractic offices now offer sports massages to their patients. Sport massages focus on relieving over-worked muscles and sore backs from rapid, repetitive motion. It can be beneficial for athletes to go in for a massage prior to major physical activity. Sports massage has been shown to enhance flexibility, decrease muscular fatigue, and prevent injuries caused by tension and diminish post-game pain.

Accidents can occur in any sports activity, but even more dangerous injuries can occur when participating in extreme sports.

A physical activity is determined to be an extreme sport if even professionally trained athletes in optimum health are at high risk of being seriously or fatally injured while performing the activity. Examples of extreme sports include but are not limited to: skiing, snowboarding, jetskiing, motocross, mountain biking, rock climbing, parasailing, parachuting, hang gliding, surfing, skating, and skateboarding.

The interest in extreme sports has drastically increased in the last few years, and with it the increase of sport-related trauma to the neck, spine, and head. Fortunately while exercise-induced injuries have escalated over the years, so has medical knowledge and experience in treating these kinds of incidents.

If a sprain or fracture seems likely, a doctor may order diagnostic testing on the suspected damaged part of the body. X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans are some of the common methods of determining if there has been a critical internal injury.

Some extreme sports are so perilous one would assume they would be illegal, but they’re not. Base jumping is among the riskiest of extreme sports. In this particular high-octane activity, participants jump from a structure or cliff and have a very limited amount of time to open their parachute.

Mount Everest has become a prime location for adrenaline seekers looking for a new leaping point. One in sixty athletes are fatally wounded in the jump.

Even though an athlete may have a wealth of experience in the specific sport they perform, there still remains a high level of risk. Though some accidents result in injuries that can be improved with medical care in time, others can be life-altering.

In 2009, a U.S. Olympic snowboarder named Kevin Pearce was severely injured while training for the upcoming competitions. He was practicing a stunt, when he sustained a traumatic injury to the head. After coming out of a coma, he was told he probably would have life-long cognitive issues and might never be capable of walking or talking again. He endured years of intensive physical therapy to regain his ability to perform activities of daily living and today he is back on the slopes snowboarding again.

Bicycle Motocross athlete Stephen Murray nearly died in Maryland at the 2007 Dew Tour after he attempted a back flip on his bike that went terribly wrong. He crashed head first, breaking his neck. After being revived on the track, he underwent several surgeries to repair his broken vertebrae. Despite the multiple operations and rehabilitation, he remains in a paraplegic condition to this day.

It’s essential to be cautious when participating in any type of vigorous activity or extreme sport. Individuals must be wary of performing in any activity that may be outside of their ability and skill level. A medical doctor or chiropractor can help patients gauge what is an appropriate sport and what may be too risky, as well as shed some light on how to avert bodily damage while playing advisable sports.

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