Bowling Injuries?

Do bowling injuries such as a herniated disc occur? Are they significant? Isn’t that just something people sometimes do on Saturday night when they don’t have anything more important to do?

Yes, bowling injuries do occur, they are significant and more people go bowling than you might think.

Industry Overview

Bowling is currently riding high on a renewed interest by the American family. It is financially stable, popular, and repositioning itself away from the original blue collar, Saturday night, beer drinking environment it once was. It is applying new technology, increasing entertainment options, improving the quality of food being offered, and appealing to a broader customer base than ever before. Last year, 67 million people in the world went bowling and two million of those are involved with a bowling league.

It seems bowling does well in hard economic times because it requires a small initial investment in equipment and costs less to do over a period of time. It is a reasonably priced, family oriented event and it appeals to a great number of people.

All in, bowling in America is a $6 billion dollar industry.

Healthcare Implications

Upon first glance, injuries associated with bowling may not be clear. However, upon taking a closer look at the actual game, the situations that exist to create injury become obvious. You are working with a very heavy weight dangling at the end of your hand which puts an excessive strain on the spines ability to evenly support a balanced body. In addition, you are swinging this heavy weight back and forth calling muscles into play to constantly correct your sense of balance while also maintaining correct posture. Finally, you are called upon to lift this heavy weight repeatedly.
This kind of repetitive action combined with walking, focusing, and delivering a fluid movement in the release of the ball creates a situation in which injury may occur. You must bend and slide, turn sideways and recover, all without injuring yourself or losing your balance.

The top ten bowling injuries are as follows:

1. Achilles Tendon Rupture
2. Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinitis
3. Back Muscle Pain
4. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
5. Herniated Disc
6. Bursitis Knee
7. Calf Muscle Tear
8. Chondromalacia Patella
9. Degenerative Disc Disease
10. Facet Joint Pain

Of these top ten injuries, four of them (3, 5, 9, 10) directly involve the spine.

Treatment Considerations

There are a few different ways a herniated disc may occur in a person bowling. Repeated trauma over an extended period of time may lead to injury. Using poor posture when standing, sitting or bowling will produce overstretching and weakness of fibrocartilage surrounding the disc. Over time, this may lead to a displacement of fluid inside the disc.

If you place a sudden and unexpected load or torque on to your spine and the discs between vertebrae, injury may occur. Make sure you are choosing a bowling ball that is natural for you and doesn’t weigh more than you can repeatedly handle. Make sure your grip is natural and the configuration of the holes in the ball are appropriate for your hand and fingers.

Herniated disc treatment begins with anti-inflammatory drugs, massage, chiropractic adjustment, injections, exercise of key muscle groups for back support, and good nutrition and rest. It moves from these treatments to invasive surgery that will remove damaged disc material and allow the body’s natural ability to heal itself a chance to do its work.

Tips for Prevention

Warm up before playing
Keep your shoes clean, maintained, and at the right size.
When picking up the ball, use two hands with bent knees.
Keep the ball in your non-bowling arm while walking.
Stay focused and be aware of what your body is telling you during the walk-up, delivery and recovery stages of bowling.
Stay hydrated and use proper nutrition to allow your muscles to correctly do their work.

Herniated Discs Due to Accident in the Neck

Automobile Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accidents with automobiles happen in America. In 2013, 35,200 people died in a car crash and 3.8 million people were injured in some fashion. The agency posits that most of the accidents occurred due to human error.

According to the Center for Disease Control, last year 41.0 million unintentional injuries were reported in emergency rooms around America. In addition, there were 80.1 million accidents reported to physician offices and hospital outpatient facilities.

Accidents do happen.

Cervical Disc Injury

A herniated cervical disc injury occurs in the top seven vertebrae of the spine. The disc between these seven vertebrae has been traumatized by accident, nerves may be impinged, and inflammation in the area may be reducing the flow of blood and nutrients to areas of the body.

A herniated disc injury may cause the victim to be in pain and experience numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The areas served by the nerves at the cervical area (neck) such as the shoulders, arms, upper torso, lungs, and other organs may not function according to their natural purpose if the nerve innervating them is traumatized.
The nerves in the neck are known to provide for blood supply to the head, the pituitary gland, the scalp, the bones of the face, the brain, the inner and middle ear, and the sympathetic nervous system. Pathology, trauma, or dysfunction in this area of the neck can produce symptoms such as headaches, nervousness, insomnia, head colds, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, mental conditions, amnesia, tiredness, dizziness, or vertigo.


A victim of an accident, whether it is in an automobile, a sport, walking down a sidewalk, or any other situation must first be properly diagnosed and a variety of treatment strategies explored. The medical practitioner may choose to introduce physical therapy, pain medication, short term bracing for the neck, steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain, and as a final solution, surgery.

The types of surgeries that can be used to assist the body to heal from a herniated disc are
Fusion: Fusing two vertebrae together
Diskectomy: Removing herniated portions of the disc
Laminectomy/Decompression: Removing bone to relieve an impingement
Vertebroplasty: Injecting bone cement into compressed or fractured vertebrae
Implantation of artificial discs between vertebrae

Herniated Discs Due to Accident in the Lower Back


With over 80.1 million people reporting accidents to doctors and hospitals in 2013, a careful understanding of the impact of disc herniation on bodily function is important. Automobile accidents, home repair accidents, and just going through a typical day accidents with friend, family and acquaintances are numerous and unpredictable. Some of these accidents result in trauma to the spine that then impact the use of various parts of the body.

Spinal Disc Herniation

This condition is one in which the disc between the large vertebrae of the lumbar region becomes torn allowing the soft inner portion of the disc to bulge out and impinge nerves and blood vessels in the area. Disc herniation can result from a degenerative disc disease, but herniation resulting from an immediate and profound trauma requires immediate and emergency care.

Lumbar Region

Although disc herniation may occur at any vertebrae of the back as a result of an accident, they most often occur between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. These vertebrae of the lower back are the largest in the spinal column and must bear up under the pressure of the full weight of the body. They must also remain flexible to allow bending and twisting.

Trauma in this area of the spine can result in sciatic nerve impingement and pain radiating down to the legs, pain in the thigh, medical issues related to the anus/genital region and issues related to the feet. Other nerves in the lumbar region of the spine innervate and control the appendix, abdomen, lungs, uterus, bladder and knees. The muscles of the lower back and the prostate gland may also be impacted if emergency trauma happens in the lower back.

Herniated Discs in the Back Due to Injury

Disc Herniation

Spinal disc herniation occurs when a disc becomes torn along the outer, fibrous ring and the soft inner portion of the disc bulges out to then impinge nerves and blood vessels. This physiological phenomena may be caused by a degenerative disc disease or trauma due to injury. At the point of injury, the disc was placed under pressure. This pressure caused the disc to expand beyond its natural design and trauma occurred.

Symptoms related to a herniated disc include pain in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical sections of the spine. The patient may experience changes in sensation related to the hips, thighs, legs, and feet. Muscle weakness, paralysis, numbness and tingling may occur.


Injury to the back can be caused by many different factors. Atheletes are prone to back injury as they are constantly placing themselves in situations where trauma may occur to the back. They must jump, twist, spin, run, stop, jump, and recover from impacts at every point of a game. They perform repetitive movements such as bowling, throwing, catching, and swinging.

People who work in manufacturing plants who have to pick up large boxes sometimes use incorrect procedure and lift with their backs instead of bending the knees and using the legs to lift. All sorts of employees in numerous kinds of productivity must use correct mechanics daily in order to prevent damage to the spine and muscles of the back.
Automobile accidents occur every day on the American highways and people experience intense trauma to their bodies. Back injuries occur at tremendous speeds and profound levels of impact. Herniated discs can result from all of these.

Noninvasive treatments for disc herniation can include
physical therapy
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
Oral steroids
Epidural Injections
Chiropractic manipulation


Surgical solutions to disc herniation include

Lumbar decompression surgery
Laser discectomy

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