Preparing Yourself For A Long Hospital Stay

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Give Me An O-U-C-H! Diagnosing And Managing Back Pain In Teenage Cheerleaders

Health & Medical Blog

Cheerleaders are an important part of any high school athletic experience. They perform exciting stunts and rile up the athletes and spectators to get them into the gaming action. Unfortunately, teenage cheerleaders often suffer from back pain that can take them out of commission. In fact, about five percent of all cheering injuries are back related.

Thankfully, it is possible to diagnose your back pain and treat it in a safe manner. While you should never rely on self-diagnosis and self-treatment, these simple steps (along with visits to a doctor) will help get you back on the court in no time.

Pin-Pointing You Pain Type

Describing your pain is important as it can help your doctor come up with a proper treatment. The three types of back pain that you're likely to feel include:

  • Axial Pain – Often described as a sharp pain that seems to fade away at times, it is typically caused by a muscle strain in your back.
  • Referred Pain – Pains that can be considered "dull," they can cause pain in your back that can move out into your legs and arms.
  • Radicular Pain – Severe pain that causes numbness in the back, it is often caused by inflammation or compression of areas around the spine.

What causes this type of back pain in cheerleaders? It all depends on the type of pain. For example, you may extend yourself too far during a spin and end up straining a muscle in your back, causing axial pain. However, a tough landing during a jump may compress your spine, leading to radicular pain. Whatever type of pain you feel, make sure to talk to a specialist before any treatment.

Getting Back Into Cheering Shape

Back pain is likely to keep you off the cheering floor for awhile, so you're going to need to take medicines, like acetaminophen, and use ice packs to decrease the swelling in your back. Apply an ice pack for no more than 15 minutes at a time and then apply a heat pad directly to the pained area to help alleviate pain and relieve the muscles.

Try to avoid excessive bed rest, as spending time lying on your back may actually hurt. Light walks around the neighborhood can help, especially if you use a stabilization tool like a brace. After a few days your doctor may let you perform some muscle strengthening exercises, such as stretches and light lifting.

You unfortunately won't likely be getting the chance to practice too many of your cheering moves, but it might not be a bad idea to go through some of the simpler steps, such as spelling out the team name. It also gives you a good chance to memorize your cheer songs and to see how the team looks from the bench, giving you an idea of how you fit into each routine.

However, anybody under the age of 19 (the typical age range of a cheerleader) should avoid taking Aspirin as a pain reliever, as it has been connected to Reye Syndrome, a dangerous disease which causes vomiting, rapid breathing, aggressive behavior, and can even be fatal. Focus on topical medications, such as heating creams instead.

By treating back pain using these simple methods, you can get back on the floor and get ready to show off some team spirit. Make sure to wear any item prescribed by your doctor, such as a back brace, to give your ailing back the support it needs until it is fully healed. Research more, such as at


31 July 2016