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Andy Murray’s spinal degeneration – what is it?

Tennis racket with tennis balls on the grass

Andy Murray had been hoping to return to Wimbledon this year but this is now uncertain as he continues rehab following surgery for a spinal cyst. He’s set to make a decision today.

Spinal Cysts are fluid filled sacks that build up over time within the spine. The main cause of their occurrence is unknown; however, it is thought to be linked to degeneration of the spinal tissues. The majority of Spinal Cysts occur in the Lumbar (lower) spine.

What is degeneration?

Degeneration is a completely normal age-related process that happens over time, it is progressive, but that is not to say it can’t be managed. Degeneration can happen in any of the spinal tissue, including vertebral discs, cartilage and the small joints of the spine.

Disc degeneration is more common in the athletic population than the general population. Its prevalence is higher in the athletic population due to the high load and repetitive mechanical forces on the body. In tennis this can be particularly prevalent due to the fast pace nature and twisting movement patterns involved in a match.

Many people will have degeneration and have no symptoms. However, some can experience lower back pain, as well as referred leg pain/sciatica which gets worse when sitting, turning and bending.

As Andy Murray said: “All tennis players have degenerative sort of joints and stuff in the back, but it’s all predominantly been left sided for me.”

What can be done to avoid this?

To mitigate this degeneration process as much as possible, you need to be strengthening the muscles that surround the spine to help offload the protect. A Physio can help identity what areas you need to work on and get your strong in the patterns that are functional to your sport/activities.

What next?

If you do have any pain in your back, physio is a good first point of call to identity what the problem is, what is causing it and what the best solution is. Please do get in touch.

Date Posted

July 1st, 2024


Article, Back Pain

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