The answer to this question is yes, playing pool can be bad for your back. Playing pool involves a lot of bending and stretching over a table, all without much support to your back.
The first reason is related to how you play the game. You see, playing pool involves a lot of bending and stretching over the table, all without any support for your back.
Secondly, the risk for back injury is high because people don’t expect it to happen. Quite often, players assume that pool is a game that can’t lead to injury. As a result, they’re careless and not so mindful about bending and stretching in the safest ways possible.
Which Parts of the Body Are Strained When Playing Pool?
To understand how playing pool can hurt your back, it’s helpful to understand the big picture. Several parts of your body are at risk of straining when you play a round of pool, including:
Your Hands and Feet
Firstly, let’s talk about your extremities. Your hands, particularly your wrists, experience a lot of strain when you apply too much pressure on them while leaning on the pool table. Suppose you were unlucky enough to accidentally hit your wrist on the table. In that case, you’d find that wrist fractures are also a possibility.
If you’re stretching as far as possible just to make the perfect shot, you could also hurt your feet by pulling a muscle or slipping on them.
Even though your hands and feet might get hurt, they’re not directly related to hurting your back. However, the game also has a way of straining your neck and waist; both of which do lead to back pain, as they involve the spine.
Have you ever played a long game of pool only to find that your neck feels tired afterwards? Well, that’s because of your posture. The next time you play, keep an eye on the people around the table and the poses they use.
If you’d like to take it a step further, ask someone to record a video of you playing pool. Aside from the stretching and reaching that we’ve mentioned in this article, you’ll also notice how your neck bends at unusual angles as you aim and prepare to take your short.
If you repeat an incorrect pool-playing posture often enough, that’ll lead to tense neck muscles. In extreme cases, you may even find yourself with a pinched nerve as well.
That can lead to back pain, particularly in your upper back.
Playing pool can also cause pain in your lower back, thanks to all the bending and twisting you may do while playing pool. Just the same way that bending your neck can lead to upper back pain, your lower half’s posture can lead to pain in your lower back instead.
People who have a habit of bending at the waist instead of the hip are at higher risk of facing this problem. Whenever you turn from the waist, you’re placing all the pressure directly onto your lower back, rather than sustaining yourself using the muscles in your lower body.
Tense muscles and nerve pain can both result from this as well.
Ways to Prevent a Back Injury While Playing Pool
Now that you know the ways you might be straining your body whenever you play pool, here comes the most crucial question.
What are some ways to prevent a back injury while playing pool?
You can break the answer down to three parts, all equally important: posture, stretching and warming up.
Just because you’re playing a game of pool around a table indoors, doesn’t mean that it’s not a strenuous physical activity. Keep that in mind as you learn to be more mindful about your posture while playing the game.
Firstly, avoid bending at the waist. You wouldn’t bend at the waist if you were picking something heavy off the floor, would you? No, because that would put too much pressure on your back.
Instead, try to reposition yourself around the table, so you don’t have to bend excessively to make your shot.
Wear a Back Support
A great way to support your lower back while playing pool is with a compression back support like this one. Simply put it on underneath your shirt before you start playing.
Using a back support will help keep your lower back straight even when you are constantly stretching and bending.
Just like any other sport, it’s always good to limber up before you start playing. So, before a game begins, do some light and simple stretches for your neck, your arms, and your waist.
Loosening up will reduce the risk of injury to your muscles later on.
Last but not least, don’t forget to warm up either. You already know what kind of movements you’ll be making as you shoot pool, so do some of them at a low intensity.
A quick search on Youtube will show you plenty of warm-up drills that you can use to prepare your body for an intense game!
Back injuries should not be taken lightly. Regardless of your age, playing pool can be bad for your back. The constant stretching and bending may harm your back if you don’t pay attention.
The best pay to prevent back injuries while playing pool is to stretch before playing, and to avoid bending at the waist. Remembering these two tips can help a substantial amount when preventing future back injuries.
For even more protection from a back injury, consider using some type of back compression/support while playin. This will help insure proper support for your lower back and help prevent strains or other injuries.