| By Dr. Charles Ruotolo

Tennis is one of the few sports where each part of the body plays an equal role in power, accuracy and endurance. And while every tennis player knows that knee, elbow and shoulder injuries are common, one of the most overlooked areas that subject to injury is the lower back.

During a match, a fatigued player may rely less on their legs and more on bending their back to return a ball closer to the ground. Repeating this motion several dozen times throughout the day places a great deal of stress on the discs and ligaments of the spine.

Similarly, during the serve, some hyperextension of the spine is required, followed by a rapid acceleration forward to generate torque and speed. During this motion, the majority of the stress is placed on the small joints at the back of the spine known as the facet joints.

This can result in chronic back pain that traditionally forced tennis players to be sidelined while the injuries healed or they underwent surgery. However, these are not your only options as several Interventional Pain Management treatments can substantially reduce your pain and minimize downtime. Below are a few examples.

Epidural injections
The epidural space contains tissues that surround the spine. A combination of anesthetic and pain medications can be injected into the space to decrease or eliminate pain.

Facet joint injections
The facet joints allow the spine to flex, extend and rotate. When they become inflamed, anesthetic and steroid medications can be injected into them to relieve painful symptoms.

Selective Nerve Root Blocks (SNRBs)
SNRBs serve two purposes. The first is to locate the cause of nerve pain, and the second is to block the problematic nerve by injecting it with a nerve numbing medication.

These treatments are often combined with physical therapy to increase core strength and spinal flexibility.

Dr. Charles Ruotolo

<p>Dr. Charles Ruotolo is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and the founder of Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine with locations in Massapequa, East Meadow and the Bronx, N.Y. Dr. Ruotolo completed his orthopedic residency program at SUNY Stony Brook in 2000. After his residency, he underwent fellowship training in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the prestigious Sports Clinic of Laguna Hills, Calif. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. As an Associate Master Instructor of Arthroscopy for the Arthroscopy Association of North America, Dr. Ruotolo actively teaches other orthopedic surgeons advanced arthroscopic skills in shoulder surgery. As an avid researcher he has also published multiple articles on shoulder injuries and shoulder surgery in the peer review journals of Arthroscopic Surgery and of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.totalorthosportsmed.com" onclick="window.open(this.href, 'wwwtotalorthosportsmedcom', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">www.totalorthosportsmed.com</a>.</p>