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Can I Play Pickleball After Spine Surgery?

older couple playing pickleball after spine surgeryPickleball has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity, making it one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. Its unique blend of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong elements attracts players of all ages and skill levels. However, if you have a history of back problems, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to play pickleball or any other new physical activity.

Considering Pickleball After Spine Surgery

Playing pickleball after spine surgery requires careful consideration and should be approached with caution. The most important step is to consult with your surgeon or physician. They can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your surgery, your recovery progress, and your overall health. Here are some key recommendations to keep in mind:

  1. Follow Physical Therapy Guidelines

If you’ve been prescribed physical therapy, it’s crucial to follow through with all sessions and exercises. Your therapist can help strengthen your spine and improve your flexibility, which are essential before returning to any sport. Consistent physical therapy can aid in a smoother and safer transition back to physical activities.

  1. Gradual Return to Activity

If your doctor agrees that you can play pickleball, start gradually. Begin with light activity and slowly increase the intensity as you feel comfortable and as directed by your healthcare provider. Rushing back into vigorous play can jeopardize your recovery and lead to further injury.

  1. Use Proper Equipment

Ensure you have proper footwear and supportive gear to reduce stress on your spine. Investing in high-quality, supportive shoes designed for court sports can make a significant difference. Sometimes, using modified or lighter equipment might also be advised to ease your return to the game.

  1. Listen to Your Body

Pay close attention to your body’s signals. If you experience pain, stiffness, or any other discomfort while playing, stop immediately and consult with your doctor. Ignoring these signs can lead to serious complications and setbacks in your recovery.

  1. Modify Your Play Style

Initially, you might need to modify how you play to avoid high-impact moves and quick twists that could strain your spine. Playing doubles, for example, could reduce the area you need to cover and the speed required. Focus on playing smart, strategic pickleball rather than exerting maximum physical effort.

Prioritize Your Health

Always prioritize your health and recovery, and follow professional guidance to ensure a safe return to activities like pickleball. Your journey back to the court should be patient and well-paced, ensuring that you protect your spine and overall well-being. With the right approach, you can enjoy the game you love while maintaining your health.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery