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The lunge and the lower back

Published: 27 Sep 2008 - 19:55 by mike

Updated: 30 Sep 2008 - 00:59

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I'm injured with a sore lower back at the moment, and my physio and I kind of assumed it was due to my sedentary job and excessive sitting. This is no doubt a factor, but we may have ignored squash because I think we're both pro-sport and anti sitting

Anyway, I read this statement in WHG Wilson's How to Win at Squash the other day:

"....A squash player therefore needs suppleness in his hip joints in order to play extremely low stretching strokes without flexing the spine forward and down. Bending the back to reach a low ball can cause spinal injuries, especially in the lower back. This is quite a common complaint among players who use such a faulty technique. Whenever possible a player should keep his spine fairliy straight and his head up."

I think I tend to bend my back far too much when getting low balls. Trying to play on Wednesday, the pain really highlighted how much I use my back to pickup drop shots.

So my question is, does the faulty technique I've mentioned cause lower back pain often among squash players?

Does squash (bad bending in particular) seem a more likely culprit than sitting (as far as direct causes go)?


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From hamburglar - 30 Sep 2008 - 00:59   -   Updated: 30 Sep 2008 - 00:59

if you don't have good core strength and flexibility, squash will quickly show you that.

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From sloejp - 29 Sep 2008 - 16:01

i find that sitting for long periods is much worse for my back than playing squash. i recommend sticking with the stretches that your physio has given you. it may take time to work, but the reward is well worth it. you may also want to ask your physio of one side of your lower back is significantly stronger/weaker than the other due to poor posture. if so, then doing exercises to strengthen the weak side of your back will also produce good results.

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From mike - 28 Sep 2008 - 09:21

The junior coach here has said that 5'10 is the ideal squash height for the reasons you mentioned. I am 3 inches taller than that. I am having a break from squash now, playing Wednesday set me back several days.

The physio did give me stretches for the lower back but apparently it can take up to 6 weeks for the pain to fully go (most gone in 7-10 days). I really hope it doesn't take that long. I'd miss squash and I do have those long flights to Manchester next month

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From rippa rit - 28 Sep 2008 - 08:50

Mike - take a look at the Relevant Tags where there has been previous discussion on "back pain".

Funnily, squash seemed to be better suited to folks of medium height as the twisting and turning and bending (boasts especially) takes its toll on taller people over a five setter.  Prolonged sitting, and driving do not help the back stay flexible as well as shortening the hamstrings. The Back Physio recommends only sitting for maximum 20 minutes at a time. How we move and how we lift, and how we bend are also important, eg getting out of the car, lifting and twisting, and how we pick up things from the floor, etc. 

I would be laying off the squash until you get this problem under control; get a set of strengthening/flexibility exercises from the Physio especially for the back and tummy muscles.

Yep, as aprice said posture is so important for our backs and shoulders too. 


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From aprice1985 - 27 Sep 2008 - 23:36

the only answer i can give is YES, i am only 22 and my back is done in!  Posture in life generally will impact on back flexibility as if you have bad posture then your back muscles live in "abnormal" positions and so when you stress them you are more likely to get back problems.  But i do often notice after squash that my back is really tired, as you say you should lunge with the legs not bend with the back, this should also help you reach to balls and keep the distance from them that i certainly find helps me.  I think your back problems are multifactoral, poor posture is then compounded by poor technique so to speak,  Address both aspects, posture comes all the way down the spine, from neck/head to sacroiliacs.  Your physio should give you exercises to help this and otherwise focus on streching legs not back on court, a big step to the ball is supposed to be good!

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