Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Back In Action


Maintain good posture while standing and walking. Learn pelvic-tilt exercises to stabilize your pelvis in a non-lordotic posture or neutral position. Many YMCA facilities and physical therapy centers have back-care classes.

A key element in reducing back injury is balanced muscular strength and flexibility. Strong adominal muscles reduce and evenly distribute loads to the back and help maintain torso alignment.

Do crunches and twists to strengthen the abdominal muscles, including the obliques. Do the exercises daily, along with stretches for the low back, hamstrings and calf muscles. Remember not to bounce while you're stretching.

Another key to preventing back injury is weight-lifting technique. Bending at the waist to pick up heavy items is a sure way to send your back into spasm. Always bend your knees, stabilize your pelvis and back with tight abdominal muscles, and use your leg muscles to lift weight.

When beginning a new exercise, have a partner or trainer check your technique. If you do squats or standing presses, you may need a lumbar-support belt to reduce the strain on your back during heavy lifting and to help you perform your exercises properly. Recent research suggests you should take off the weightlifting belt when lifting lighter weights to strengthen the back.

Easing the Pain

If you've already hurt your back, there are a number of things you can do to ease the pain and try to reduce the muscle spasm. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your legs supported. This reduces the tension on low back muscles. A hot bath or whirlpool can also help relieve stiff, sore muscles if there is no swelling. An ice massage directly to the spine may help.

See a physician if you're unable to stop back spasms on your own. She can do a thorough evaluation, including X-rays, to determine the source of the problem. She also can prescribe medication and physical therapy that can help relieve the spasm and pain.

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About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
Infectious Disease
Sexual Health
Emotional Well-Being
Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

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