4 tips to protect your back while playing tennis

Tennis may be your favorite pastime, but if you're not careful, it could lead to serious injury and back pain. With all the forceful twisting involved in the sport, lower back pain is fairly common among tennis players, according to the International Tennis Federation.

Renowned athlete Andre Agassi has long suffered from chronic pain because of tennis. In his memoir, "Open," Agassi explains the physical toll the sport has taken on him:

"After three decades of sprinting, stopping on a dime, jumping high and landing hard, my body no longer feels like my body, especially in the morning," he writes.

While you may not play as hard or as often as Agassi, it's important to know the ways you can protect your body and avoid back pain. Here are four tips:

1. Use the right equipment
Tennis racquets have different tensions and sizes, which means that they should be fit specifically for your needs. For example, a stiffer racquet with less string tension doesn't require the same amount of trunk rotation as a flexible racquet, according to Spine-health.com. The site also suggests having the racquet sized so it doesn't put too much stress on your elbow. If not, the tension can throw off your swing and increase the likelihood of back pain.

2. Stretch often
As with any other physical activity, stretching is important. Be sure to do so before and after every game you play to loosen and elongate your muscles. Otherwise, the tension could lead to discomfort.

3. Practice proper form
The easiest way to injure yourself during a tennis match is by using improper serve and swing form. When playing, be sure to use your knees to bend and avoid arching your back too much. If possible, hire a tennis instructor to help you maintain these habits.

4. Play on clay
Hard courts increase the impact on your bones and muscles when you land a jump or run. To avoid that source of pain, ITF encourages players to use clay courts as much as possible.

If you're experiencing lower back pain due to tennis, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.