Table tennis is a great sport that stimulates your body physically and mentally, and it is certainly my personal favorite. However, as in all sports, there is the risk of injury and pain.
Once upon a time, when I was younger, I had back pain that originated from table tennis and followed me around even when I wasn’t playing, even though it was at the worst. Luckily, I got out of it and figured out what was causing it, so in this article, I’ll share my knowledge so you can point out the cause and get rid of it!
Table tennis can cause pain if you skip warmups, have an incorrect form, or don’t stretch properly. Also, if you lack supporting muscle mass on the key areas, the unwanted pain from a bad form can worsen.
In addition to all fun you’re having while playing table tennis, some factors can cause pain. To further understand where the pain is really coming which is required to fully know how to make it go away, let’s dive a little deeper into the subject.
What causes back pain from table tennis?
The back is connected to many things, such as prolonged standing, twisting, lifting, and bending. Table tennis has many rotating movements that occur, especially in the lower back, while the muscles and joints are extended and flexed. This can cause lower back pain, according to many studies such as one made by Researchgate.net.
Depending on whether you play with your left or right hand, the rotating movement will be one-sided to either side of your lower back. This can make noticeable discomfort and pain to your lower back because you strain the other side much more.
Also, tennis is a standing sport, and prolonged standing will put most of your upper body weight to a small pressure point on the lower back, eventually making it hurt. This is why taking short breaks during your training and longer breaks from time to time can and probably will ease back pain.
In addition, if you skip warm-ups and go to a heated table tennis game with cold muscles, it can cause back pain and even increase the risk of greater injury, such as straining your back. Always warp up your body first before sports.
Finally, if you are stiff as a steel pole can cause back pain. If your muscles can stretch more in different directions without being pulled hard to the original position, you have a much easier time playing table tennis and living all together, in addition to the lower chance of back pain.
How to prevent back pain resulted from table tennis?
Now that you know the common reasons table tennis caused back pain, let’s look at how you can prevent and even make the back pain disappear.
1. Enough warmup
Warming up before any major activity that makes your muscles move and joints to work is important. This is because when you have warmed up your body, it is already accustomed to the movement and is ready for it.
What this means in more formal terms is that warming up makes your cardiovascular system ready by increasing blood flow and raising your body temperature. This can prevent injuries and decrease the muscle soreness that often comes after a hard workout.
As you can see, a lot is going on when you warm up, which is really important. This is also proven in different researches over and over again.
2. Strengthen your muscles
More natural muscles are always a good thing in preventing injury and even curing yourself of pain. There are various exercises you can do to increase the power and strength in your lower back. This will help prevent injury, reduce stiffness, and speed up your back’s healing process from soreness.
Below you can find two kinds of exercises that are good for your back. In the first video, you will focus more on strengthening the muscles on your back, whereas in the second video, it is more stretching-focused.
- Lat pulldown
- Low row
- Reacher row
Take a look at these exercises that you can do at home to strengthen and stretch your back and spine.
- The wall stretch
- The pelvic tilt
- Lumbar extension presses
- Behind the back neck stretch
- The stated heart opener
Strength exercising has been proven to help with many things, and luckily it helps with pain as well.
3. Correct your form
As you might already know, the correct form is crucial in table tennis, as it is in most sports. However, if your form is incorrect, it can really fast put a lot of bad pressure on points that you shouldn’t have in the first place.
If you suffer from back pain, make sure that your form is correct and doesn’t feel wrong. Make use of a large mirror that lets you really see if you are doing things right.
4. Stretch properly
Finally, stretching is essential for many reasons. Stretching helps prevent injury, reduces pain, improves your performance by giving your joints their full range of motion, improves blood flow, and enables your muscles to work as efficiently as they can.
There are many different forms of stretching, but two of them are the most common ones: Dynamic and Static stretching.
- Dynamic stretching is done with movements that cause your muscles to stretch, however, these movements don’t include a held in stretching position. Do dynamic stretches before a table tennis session to get your muscles ready for movement.
- Static stretching is done with held movements that often take around 10 to 30 seconds before changing the stretch. Do these stretches after your table tennis session to prevent injury and reveal pain and soreness from your muscles.
What is the most common injury in table tennis?
The most common table tennis injury is an ankle sprain. This is because it doesn’t require time to form, but it can happen in a second from one missed step. In most ankle sprain cases, the athlete didn’t wear proper shoes with lateral support that decrease the risk of ankle sprains.
What muscles does table tennis train?
Table tennis trains most muscles on the body because it is so active and really requires your whole body to move. However, these muscles are most in use during a table tennis game:
- Rotator cuff
In table tennis, your racket hand really does most of the work, so your non-dominant hand gets less action and exercise. That is why I like to work out at the gym to balance things out and get a good workout.
I recommend that you learn more about the subject in my comprehensive article about it where I go in-depth about what muscles do table tennis train and much more.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.