Recently had a question on my YouTube channel asking does back surgery stop someone from doing jiu jitsu. This is a good question and can be applied to sports in general, so I thought it a good idea to do a post on it to help clarify things. The person had back surgery and simply wanted to know if it prevents him from doing it.
Short answer, in general, doing sports will help. Here’s my reasoning.
Firstly, why we get back pain in the first place is largely due to decompression of the joints which leads to dysfunction and ultimately disc degeneration. This dysfunction could be through repetitive stress (such as work, sitting at a desk), an injury that wasn’t properly treated at the time, or even genetics. At the point where surgery may have been necessary, it’s likely that the patient has gone through many treatments and medications, but ultimately due to some neurological reason, surgery has been necessary. That’s a very simplified explanation of what may happen.
The spine has 26 joints to it, providing a great range of flexibility and movement. When a back problem gets do bad that surgery is needed, then in many cases part of the spine is fused which in turn means that a certain amount of that flexibility is infringed upon.
That’s fine, the problem of pain caused by that area of the back has been fixed. Nerves are no longer impacted, and the pain is less.
However, the back is now not operating properly, or as it was originally “designed” to.
This puts pressure on the joints around the area that had the surgery applied to it. This is because the bio-mechanics of the back has been altered. It’s quite normal to hear that several years after the initial surgery, more surgery is required on the other joints that have degenerated as they are not working the way they should under normal conditions.
The good news is that surgeries are getting better and better all the time, but of course that doesn’t necessarily help those who have already had surgery in the past.
So you have to continually maintain and ensure that the rest of your joints are in optimal working order. It’s a maintenance issue now. You need to keep your mobility up and get your range of motion is efficient and effective as possible.
How do you do this?
Chiropractic treatment is a superb way of providing the foundation for this, to enable the spine to be kept in proper alignment and to keep the other joints decompressed. While you wouldn’t need to go on a weekly basis, it is a good idea to go on perhaps a monthly basis to help the other joints to remain working right.
Stretching exercises are another great way of keeping your joints in good working shape. This too, like chiropractic, helps keep your joints decompressed.
You also need to keep inflammation down as well. Ice is a great way to provide this relief, apply for 20 minutes onto the area and this will help greatly.
So how about sports and in particular, our guy who asked about jiu jitsu? Again, this is a great way to stay flexible and maintain a healthy back. You become stronger, muscles grow and are able to keep things well supported and in check.
Check out this video with a more detailed explanation of how people with back surgeries can benefit from sports including jiu jitsu.
Dr Ray Marquez DC
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