The “DL” Report: NFL Week 2

With NFL Week One in the books, it provides us a whole new sort of update on the injury front. There was a season-ending injuries that occurred on Sunday in the AFC Title Game Rematch between the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars:

  • Left Tackle – Jacksonville Jaguars – Cam Robinson


And still a few teams that are going to be left without some of their best players for at least another week:

  • Linebacker – Baltimore Ravens – CJ Mosley


  • Wide Receiver – Seattle Seahawks – Doug Baldwin


  • Safety – Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry


But there are two guys who are game-time decisions because of back pain. That would be Houston Texans Linebacker JaDaveon Clowney and Philadelphia Eagles Runningback Jay Ajayi.

NFL: SEP 16 Eagles at Buccaneers

JaDaveon missed last weeks’ game against the Tennessee Titans and Ajayi injured his low back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Anatomy Review:


The “low back” consist of the five lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum, and the coccyx. They stack neatly on each other like a column. In a short concise recap: the lumbar spine is design to transfer force from the lower body to the upper body. One of its functions is to bear the load from the upper body.


With many of the sports injuries that occur that doesn’t classify as a break, fracture, tear, rupture, dislocation most of the time they are sprain and strain injuries. The sprain or strain injury can vary in severity. But a commonality that I have seen with back injuries in the clinic is that they are also dealing with hip problems too.

Low back pain can be caused by foot dysfunction, hip dysfunction, or low back dysfunction. Just like hip pain can be caused by low back pain. So when evaluating when people for low back complaints, you have to examine the hip. If they hips are not able to function properly (whether weak muscles or stiff/tight muscles) that can place extra stress on the low back and force the low back to compensate. A lack of hip extension can force you to arch your low back to mimic that you are getting more hip extension than what you really are.

When you see someone for your low back, make sure you get it examined by someone who doesn’t just evaluate your low back but also evaluates your hip function and feet function.

Rehabilitation Outlook:

For many high level athletes, performing simple rehabilitation exercises may not be the correct route of treatment because their bodies are highly tuned and they need a significant stimulus to help with their rehabilitation. So sometimes for these athletes what they may have to do for their rehabilitation could be to squat and deadlift.

But for other individuals there may be the need for a simple exercises to help create a new “foundation” to help them with their low back. These exercises are common exercises I use in clinic to help low back pain patients strengthen their low back. Helping them “reset” their core muscles is a great foundation to help them on the road to recovery. Sure I could do a lot of manual work or adjust them and they may get better after numerous visits but teaching them exercises can help them for a lifetime. I can’t help them after they leave the office after the adjustment, but with low-tech and simple exercises that helps them outside of the office.

Side Bridge:

  • Keep the spine neutral
  • Push through your hips
  • Do not hyperextend your low back

Bird Dog:

  • Keep the core tight
  • keep the low back straight
  • Drive your heel back, instead of raising your leg

Curl Up:

  • Maintain pressure on your hand with your low back
  • Do not flex your lumbar spine, keep in neutral
  • Brace your core

Season Outlook:

Low back injuries can be challenging. Aside from direct trauma to the low back, the differential diagnosis list, with low back pain as a symptom, is a mile long. Given that it hasn’t come out that they suffered a disc injury or there’s no break or fracture, we’re thinking muscular.

If they can practice without pain the next few days and continue treatment and rehabilitation I think there’s an outside chance they play on Sunday. But I think they get one week of extra rest and get ready for Week 3.

Disclaimer: Remember I don’t own the pictures. They belong to the NFL, USA Today, Getty Images to name a few.

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