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Understanding and Treating Back Pain in Athletes

Today on the podcast we are bringing you an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek of a lecture I gave to the students at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance.

The place I work and see patients, giving you an inside look into how I treat people for back pain.

We’ve done a lot of more general episodes lately on culture, techniques, and gymnastics general ideas, so I want to do an episode for medical providers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, doctors, and chiropractors, who deal with a lot of gymnastics back pain, but they’re a little overwhelmed on how to evaluate this, how to treat this, and how to safely get somebody back to the sport.

Unfortunately, sometimes people rest from sport and as soon as they go back, they feel their pain comes back again which is really frustrating.

It’s definitely more on the medical, dorky side for a reason but hopefully coaches trying to learn more can pick up some of those ideas too as well.

I talk about some of the evaluation concepts that are super important, including knowing what things make someone’s back worse, and what things make someone’s back better.

I also go over exercises to help somebody in those first few weeks after an injury and the progressions of those exercises to eventually get back to sport.


I discuss:

  • Evaluating and treating low back pain.
  • Bilateral stress fractures vs. bilateral stress fractures.
  • Flexion intolerance vs. compression intolerance.
  • Three layers of testing for inclusion criteria.
  • Treating disc bulges and sciatica
  • How to make patients feel better.
  • Core exercises
  • Getting back to advanced training. And…
  • Power and medball work for sports-specific rehab


Understanding and Treating Back Pain in Athletes



Hope it helps!

– Dave

Dr. Dave Tilley DPT, SCS, CSCS
CEO/Founder of SHIFT Movement Science