Low back pain in elite track and field athletes


Low back pain is a common health problem in the general population, and the same holds for athletes. This pain is due to various causes, and an accurate diagnosis is essential both for the selection of the appropriate therapy and for reasons of differential diagnosis.

Our aim was to record traumas of the lumbar part of the vertebral column in elite track and field athletes, and to report the newer therapeutic procedures that we used depending on diagnosis for the athletes' rehabilitation.

During the time interval 1996 to 2004 we treated 175 athletes with low back pain at the S.E.G.A.S. medical center in Thessaloniki. These athletes had an average age of 21.7 years, and presented with low back pain in 193 cases.

Analytically, in 99of the cases (51,29%) there was due to disk etiology, and it was treated conservatily with mechanical therapy-extention principal and functional spinal segmental stabilization.

One athlete of this category was operated.

Back pain of muscular origin was found in 49 of all cases (27,97%). All of them were treated with the method of myofacial release of trigger points.

Back pain in 36 of the cases(19,17%) was due to trauma of the posterior elements (superior and inferior facet joints - spondylolysis). These athletes were treated conservatily with mechanical therapy- flexion principal and functional spinal segmental stabilization.

One athlete from this category did not manage to return to the level of athletic activity before the trauma

At last, in 2 cases the reason for back pain was sarcoiliitis, and in one case compression vertebral fracture.


Diagnosis is essential for selecting the proper therapy of the low back injuries. Particular attention should be given to the cooperation of the team that approaches the athlete (sports medicine doctor, physiotherapist and coach), in order to avoid recurrent low back injuries.

Recent Announcements

Monday, 20 Feb 2017

5th Congress of ECOSEP & 2nd UAE FA Football Medicine Update 25th-27th November 2017 Dubai

read more

Monday, 05 Sep 2016


read more

Recent Articles

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

An innovative treatment, for  Musculoskeletal Pathologies , PRP uses your own blood for healing muscle, tendon and ligament injuries. 

A common form of healing is scarring which affects function . Most of the Current therapies  treating sports Injuries  do not change the intrinsically poor healing properties. Given this situation, biologically based strategies involving the stimulation of cell activities through the delivery of Growth Factors have attracted considerable interest. 

Platelet Rich Plasma is derived by placing a small amount of your blood in a filtration system which separates red blood cells from platelets. The high concentration of platelets (containing a high level of Growth Factor) is then injected into the injured tissue which initiates the body’s natural healing response.

read more

Extra Shockwave Therapy & Treatment

At European SportsCare, Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ECSWT) is available for the treatment of musculoskeletal softtissue pathology such as Tendon, Ligament, Muscle and bone. Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive treatment provided by fully trained Consultants providing this treatment for more than 15 years. It is available as an out-patient treatment in one of our comfortable consultation rooms at 68 Harley Street.

read more

Acute Lateral Ankle Sprains In Track & Field Athletes: A Proposal Of An Expanded Classification

We present a longitudinal observational study on classification of acute lateral ankle ligament injuries in track & field athletes, based on objective criteria. These very common and sometimes troublesome sports injuries are treated functionally but there is a lack in international literature in predicting the time needed for full recovery.

read more

Ten year follow-up study comparing conservative versus operative treatment of anterior cruciate ligament ruptures. A matched-pair analysis of high level athletes

Objective: To compare long term outcome of highly active patients with anterior cruciate ligament ruptures treated operatively versus non-operatively.

Design: We reviewed high level athletes with an anterior cruciate ligament rupture on either MRI or arthroscopic evaluation more than 10 years previously, who were treated conservatively. They were pair-matched with patients who had had an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with bone-patella-tendon-bone, with respect to age, gender and Tegner activity score before injury.Participants: In total 50 patients were pair-matched.

Results: We found no statistical difference between the patients treated conservatively or operatively with respect to osteoarthritis or meniscal lesions of the knee, as well as activity level, objective and subjective functional outcome. The patients who were treated operatively had a significantly better stability of the knee at examination.

Conclusion: We conclude that the instability repair using

a bone-patella-tendon-bone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a good knee stabilising operation. Both treatment options however show similar patient outcome at 10 year follow up.

read more

ACL injuries. Diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation

The ability to recognize the ACL deficient knee is lacking, even among orthopaedic surgeons. The history of an acute ACL tear is remarkably constant, because the injury is often non contact, and patients usually report a twist on the flexed knee, turning to the same side as the injured knee, although hyperextension or direct injury is the cause in some sports. Patients often remember a loud pop, but, because there are no nociceptors in the ACL, pain is not an immediate feature in the isolated lesion. Players may attempt to continue to play, but they usually stop because the knee feels insecure. Pain ensues in association with a hemarthrosis: 70% of acute hemarthroses of the knee are associated with a tear of the ACL. The diagnosis must be confirmed before treatment is offered.

read more