Back pain has become one of the most frequent sports-related health problems. Up to 80% of the Swiss population experience at least one episode per year up to several times per week. It affects athletes of all age groups and all levels of activity equally. The causes of acute and chronic back pain are plentiful, but can be easily appreciated with a thorough and comprehensive history, concise clinical examination, and adequate imaging.
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The growing spine is – particularly in performance oriented young athletes – prone to overload: under pubertal hormonal influence the 48 cartilaginous growth zones beneath the vertebral endplates are mechanical as fragil as never before during growth whereas on the other side the impacting forces are becoming higher due to the longer trunk lever arm, the often apparent relative muscular insufficiency, the increasing training hours and intensity as well as the willingness and pressure to perform. The subsequent biomechanical imbalance usually results in simple functional complaints but may also entail structural changes, for example (thoraco-) lumbar Scheuermann’s disease in sports with high axial impact such as alpine skiing oder gymnastics.
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