Flag Football and Keeping Your Back Safe

November 25, 2022


Flag football is a fun way to stay active during the holidays, but it can also lead to back pain if you’re not careful. You need to be mindful as you age and your body changes. Just because you used to be able to play flag football all day long when you were younger doesn’t mean your body can handle it now. 

Following these tips can help you stay safe and prevent back pain. If you experience discomfort, you can try various at-home remedies to find relief. However, if the pain persists for more than a few days, it’s best to see your doctor to rule out any severe underlying conditions. Here are some ways to prevent back pain while playing and what to do if you are experiencing pain after playing.

How Can Playing the Annual Thanksgiving Game of Flag Football Hurt Your Back?

  1. Muscles, ligaments, or discs in your back can be strained from overuse or improper technique while playing.
  2. Twisting or turning your body awkwardly can cause strain on your spine and lead to back pain.
  3. If you fall during the game, you could suffer a back injury such as a fracture or herniated disk.
  4. Being tackled can also lead to back pain, especially if you land on your back awkwardly.

Keeping Your Back Safe While Playing Flag Football

  1. Warm up before playing. A warm-up will loosen your muscles and prepare you for the game.
  2. Stretch before playing. Stretching helps to lengthen your muscles and prevent them from becoming tight.
  3. Wear proper footwear. Wearing shoes with good support and cushioning can help reduce the impact on your back.
  4. Use proper technique. Avoiding twisting or turning your body suddenly can help prevent strain on your back.
  5. Take breaks as needed. If you feel pain, take a break and rest for a few minutes.
  6. Apply heat before starting the game to increase blood flow to your muscles and reduce the risk of injury.

What At-Home Pain Relief Can You Use?

  • Ice the affected area for 15 minutes
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed
  • Try using a topical cream or ointment with menthol or capsaicin
  • See your doctor if the pain persists for more than a few days

Thanksgiving flag football is a tradition for many families, but it can ruin the fun if you injure your back. We hope that this information will make your holiday game enjoyable without any added pain.

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained pain management physicians have over 50 years of experience and serve patients in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. If you have any questions or want additional information, please fill out the form, and we will talk to you soon.