Sports Injuries of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine

Albers, Christoph; Benneker, Lorin M. (2019). Sports Injuries of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine. In: Lumbar Spine Online Textbook. Section 17, Trauma, Chapter 8. Wheeless Online Books

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Reportedly, nine to fifteen percent of sports injuries affect the spinal column.1-3 The majority of these injuries are benign myofascial strains responding well to physical therapy without mid- or long-term impact on athletic performance. However, more severe injuries may occur including fractures or osseous instability, disco-ligamentous instability and neurologic compromise. Two different types of injury mechanisms are distinguished. Chronic injuries most frequently involve the lumbar spine. Repetitive low energy trauma from overuse leads to structural damage such as stress fractures or degenerative changes commonly affecting the intervertebral discs (IVD) and posterior elements of the spine. This increases the incidence of low back pain (LBP) in high level athletes with up to 30% of athletes experiencing acute LBP attributable to participation in sports.4,5 Acute injuries, in contrast, are the result of high energy trauma most frequently involving the cervical, thoracolumbar and lumbar spine. Spinal cord injury with neurologic compromise can be a devastating consequence of high energy trauma of the spine. As each athletic activity can cause unique stresses and specific injury patterns, evaluating and managing sport related injuries of the spine requires a profound knowledge of the underlying anatomic structures and biomechanical conditions, the demands of the sport and the athlete, predisposing factors and mechanisms of injury of the thoracolumbar and lumbar spine. This chapter provides a summary of injuries and other pathologic conditions of the thoracic and lumbar spine related to sports highlighting current concepts of the epidemiology, underlying causes and biomechanics, diagnosis and management of athletes.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Albers, Christoph and Benneker, Lorin Michael


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health


Wheeless Online Books




Kathrin Aeschlimann

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2019 14:55

Last Modified:

17 Dec 2019 14:55

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