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Is Pickleball Bad for Your Back? Read Before You Play!

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By Jacob Jackson

Pickleball is a fun and popular sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It can be played by singles or doubles, indoors or outdoors, on a court similar to a badminton court. But is pickleball bad for your back? Read this article before you play to find out the benefits and risks of pickleball for your spine health.

Pickleball is a low-impact sport that can improve your cardiovascular fitness, balance, coordination, and mental well-being. It can also strengthen your core muscles, which support your spine and posture. However, pickleball also involves some movements that can put stress on your back, such as bending, twisting, reaching, and lunging. These movements can cause muscle strains, ligament sprains, disc herniation, or spinal stenosis, especially if you have poor technique, overuse, or pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it is important to take some precautions to prevent or reduce back pain from pickleball.

Prevent Pickleball Injuries

Reasons for Lower Back Pain After Playing Pickleball

If you’re not careful, pickleball can cause lower back pain after playing. Here are some 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 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, and vary your intensity and frequency of playing.

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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. To prevent this, use proper form when dinking and avoid excessive twisting or jerking of your spine.

3. Lower Spine Impairment

Some people may have underlying conditions or injuries that affect their lower spine, making them more prone to lower back pain after playing pickleball. To prevent this, consult a doctor before playing pickleball if you have any history or symptoms of lower spine impairment. You should also strengthen your core and lower back muscles with exercises like planks, bridges, squats, and lunges.

How to Reduce Lower Back Pain While Playing Pickleball?

Pickleball can also cause lower back pain while playing if you’re not careful. Here are some ways you can reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball:

Stop Bending

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. To avoid this, you should stop bending through your spine and instead bend through your knees and hips. You can also use an elongated paddle and a ball retriever to avoid excessive bending.

Pickleball Injuries

Warm-up Exercises

Another way to reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball is to warm up properly before each game. Dynamic stretches and light cardio can help prevent muscle strains and sprains and improve mobility and flexibility.

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Flexibility and Core Strength

Improving your flexibility and core strength can also help reduce lower back pain while playing pickleball. Flexibility exercises can help reduce muscle tension and improve your range of motion. Core strength exercises can help stabilize your spine and pelvis and improve your posture and balance.

Back Exercises for Pickleball

To prevent and reduce back pain while playing pickleball, it’s important to strengthen your back and core muscles with specific exercises. Here are some examples:

Plank

The plank is a core exercise that engages your abdominal, back, and shoulder muscles. It helps improve your posture and stability. 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.

The Superman

The Superman is a back exercise that targets your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. To do a Superman, lie 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.

Russian Twist

The Russian twist is a core exercise that works your obliques, the muscles that help you rotate your torso. To do a Russian twist, lie on your back and bend your knees while balancing yourself on your tailbone. Twist your torso from side to side, moving your hands across your body. Keep your back straight throughout the movement and tighten your abs. Repeat for several reps.

Pickleball is a social activity

Deadlift

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. Then drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift the weight back up. Repeat for several reps.

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Lunges

Lunges are a leg exercise that also challenges your balance and stability. To do 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. Keep your torso upright and your front knee over your ankle. Push through your front heel to return to your starting position. Switch legs and repeat for several reps.

Remember to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program and stop if you feel pain. Enjoy pickleball without hurting your back!

Happy pickling!

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