It’s that time of year where we are seeing people after their snow adventures. Many people have done the right thing and started a knee strengthening programme before they hit the slopes, and others have just “hit” the slopes.

Compression Fracture

If you are new to snowboarding the first thing you realise is how many times you end up on your bum. For this reason, coccyx (or tailbone) injuries are common. The impact directly affects the small bone and the surrounding muscles which attach to the coccyx. In more severe injuries, you may not be able to sit (especially on harder seats), stand from sitting or walk upstairs.

This week I had an experienced snowboarder attend Shirley Rd Chiropractic with pain in his mid to lower back. He had a significant fall ten days earlier, at speed, while doing a jump, and landed heavily on his backside. Given his pain was distant to the impact site I was suspicious of a potential compression fracture of the spine. Our spine does not cope well with compression based injuries, whether it be landing heavily or a hit on top of our heads.

I arranged Xrays which confirmed a T11 compression fracture. To determine if there was any potential damage to the spinal cord I requested an MRI which showed the extent of the injury. The bone had compressed upon itself, just as a “Crunchie” bar would collapse under compression. Luckily, there was no damage to his discs or spinal cord and the fracture is stable. Unfortunately, his season ticket won’t be of much more use as he will need to refrain from snowboarding and other impact activities for a minimum of 6 weeks as it heals. If not, he risks potential damage to the spinal cord which would result in paraplegia and loss of bowel and bladder function. After hearing this, he was only too happy to “take it easy”.

For any advice on sport specific exercises, ask any of the practitioners at Shirley Rd Chiropractic (Crows Nest). Learn more about chiropractic and sport.