What Back Pain Can Teach Us About Your Gymnast

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“I was doing a punch front, and I wasn’t tight. I punched the floor and immediately felt the pain in my back.”

So what does back pain teach us about your gymnast?

What we’ve found over the past years working with gymnasts is this: Gymnastics is unforgiving to weakness.

When your gymnast has a control issue of their body, gymnastics will exploit this and injury will soon follow.

Back pain goes back to three issues:

  1. Overtraining
  2. Overuse
  3. Core Control

In the Gymnast Care Book on Injuries, We’ve created an entire chapter to back pain. We walk you through acute injury and overuse injury. We get into core control therapy, because we believe this is the root cause of back pain.

As a parent, the best version of our Book on Injuries is the Video Edition so your athlete can follow along with the exercises.

Get your Book on Injuries Video Edition now by clicking here.

My Gymnast’s Back Is Hurting, What Do I Do?

Back pain in adolescents and children is not normal. We don’t want to get into the trap of thinking that because our athlete does gymnastics, it’s normal for them to experience back pain.


The first thing to do is rule out serious back injuries. It’s very helpful to have your gymnast examined by someone that understands gymnastics and the forces being placed on their body. If your gymnast has been experiencing constant back pain after 1-2 weeks of rest, many times it’s very helpful to have an MRI to see exactly whats happening in the back.

MRI’s are better than bone scans because we can actually see inflammation, soft tissue, and damage at bones and joints. Bone scans just tell us that the body is responding to an injury.

Acute Injuries

There are also acute injuries in the back like sprains and strains. When these happen, implement rest, ice, and compression as soon as possible. You can also utilize KT Tape to help with inflammation and movement. Check out this video from the Book on Injuries Video Edition on KT Taping, Compression, and Icing:


Low Back Soft Tissue

Many times your gymnasts back will just be sore and we’ve found the best way to care for this is to effectively work the muscles, releasing the tension there, and allowing your athlete’s muscles to recover properly. Your gymnast is overworked and their bodies need help recovering. Here’s a video from the Book on Injuries Video Edition to help you give your athlete soft tissue care for recovery and decrease of soreness.


The Most Important Gymnastics Training:

Core Control

In order for athlete to prevent low back injury, they must be in control of their body at all times. This is the premise of all of the rehab we teach to gymnasts.

Gymnasts are great in hollow position, but in neutral or extended position, they do not know how to control their bodies. Force are not controlled by muscles, rather they are randomly dispursed throughout the body and many times they are transmitted through the posterior aspect of the spine. When this pressure has built up enough, the bone gives way and causes fracturing at the pars interarticularis, joint surface, and other structures of the back.

Preventing back pain in gymnasts must start with them learning to control the force produced while on the equipment in the gym. The forces of the gym aren’t well known, but Dr. Bill Sands states that gymnast have the potential to produce between  10-14 times their bodyweight in force while in the gym. For a 100 pound girl, this is 1000-1400 pounds of pressure. We must start teaching gymnasts to control their bodies, therefore controlling these enormous forces as best as possible, so we can eliminate back pain.

If you’ve never heard this information before, watch our Phase 1 Core Control Protocol from our Gymnast Care Book on Injuries:


Just Scratching The Surface

This post is just scratching the surface of everything we’ve put into the Gymnast Care Book on Injuries. We want you to be educated and have a plan of action for when your athlete gets hurt.

We created the Book on Injuries for YOU!

Get a Plan, Get Protection, Get Prevention.

Select your version of the Book on Injuries by clicking here.

Dr. Joshua Eldridge

About Dr. Joshua Eldridge

Dr. Joshua Eldridge has specialized in protecting gymnasts from injury. He is the inventor of The X Brace, and has developed a treatment protocol for Sever's disease and heel pain that has helped thousands of gymnasts throughout the world. Dr. Eldridge brings practical, easy injury care and prevention that can be done at home.