Lumbar Spine Injuries In Sport 

Low back pain is a frequent occurrence in today’s society, with over 80% of Australians experiencing significant back pain in their lifetime. The lumbar spine is located in the lower region of your back. It is responsible for bearing weight of your body, torso range of motion and protects your spinal cord. When this area is damaged, it has the potential to significantly impact your daily movement and nervous system.   

While some back pain can be a result of poor posture and alignment, trauma is one of the leading causes of lumbar spine injuries. That’s why, protecting the back and lumbar spine in sports, is vital.  

In high-contact sports such as rugby league, there’s a large amount of physical force used during tackles. When performed correctly, a tackle should be below the shoulders and above the knees. However, when illegal tackles and manoeuvres are made outside of these areas, it can significantly increase the risk of spinal injuries.   

As Penrith Panthers Co-captain Nathan Clearly was recently banned for five games due to an illegal tackle, it’s paramount that our local players are educated on the safe techniques and game codes. These codes are enforced to not only protect the body and spinal cord, but also creates a safe environment for players. 

However, Lumbar Spine injuries can also appear in non-contact sports such as golf, tennis or cricket with repetitive back extension and rotation. These repetitive movements can cause Lumbar stress fractures to appear and may become a greater issue, if not effectively treated.   

At Progressive Physio, our team of highly qualified sports and spinal physiotherapists are experienced in effectively treating Lumbar Spine and low back injuries. Through the implementation of a personalised treatment program, we focus on hands-on physiotherapy, core strengthening, and targeted exercises to improve muscle flexibility to take reliance off the back.  

If you have recently injured your back during sport, don’t wait for the issue to worsen. Get effective treatment from the beginning and contact your local physio to book an appointment.  

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.