People who are passionate about the pickleball game but have health problems might sometimes ask, “Can I play pickleball with spinal stenosis“? And you are also having the same questions.

Please do not trouble your mind! In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know when participating in this type of sport and ways to deal with spinal stenosis. Without delay, let’s roll.

What Is A Spinal Stenosis?

A spinal stenosis is related to the narrow space inside the backbone where the spinal cord and nerves are located. Due to its abnormal size, the spine will create pressure on the nerves and cords on the way they travel, causing pain for the patients.

There are two types of stenosis: canal stenosis at the neck area and lumbar stenosis at the lower back of your body. Following the records, the latter is more common and can be avoided with the correct lifestyle.

Different reasons might lead to this disease. The very first one is genetic. Thankfully, this case only makes up a small percentage.

The second cause is the aging process. People aged 50 and above usually contract this health problem because their spongy discs, between the spine’s bones, are pushed out of the annulus into the canal. 

That will make the space in the spine smaller, leading to this type of illness.

Another possibility is the wrong posture when playing sports; pickleball is one of them. This game requires players to move in different positions, which can impact the spinal form, potentially causing spinal stenosis.

What Is A Spinal Stenosis

Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis 

There are two types of spinal stenosis, canal, and lumbar stenosis, but its symptoms differ in separate areas. 

For the neck area, the signs can be neck numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hands or arms. This damage can also be the difficulty or the imbalance in walking or standing.

The problem can affect the bladder and bowel, too. You might sometimes find troubles with your digestive system or urination activity. 

You might face back pain in the lower back, especially when standing upright. You can also experience cramping in one or both legs and feet when walking or standing for a long time. 

Several people say that they have sudden or long-lasting pains in the back. These have caused difficulties when they sit or have sex with their partners.

With this kind of illness, the patients might not know they are suffering from this health problem at first.

However, from time to time, it will worsen. Thus, if you feel about the above signals, head to the doctors to get the correct treatment method.

Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis 
Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis

Risks Of Playing Pickleball With Spinal Stenosis

Participating in a pickleball match requires participants to have not only good health but a flexible body. 

As it is a racket sport in which the players will use a paddle to hit the hollow plastic ball and avoid it from falling, the game demands quick reflection and instant movement in a short period.

Hence, you will easily see multiple participant postures, from side-to-side to bending, jumping, running, spinal rotation, and dinking. These movements keep the players far away from a stable position around the lumbar spine, which increases the risk of developing this health problem.

The repetitive dinking form is the most taxing on the lumbar spine. This position requires participants to stay low while moving side to side, twisting the body, and bending it over to hit the soft shot over the net.

That will not be a problem if players use the dinking technique correctly by bending through the knees. Unfortunately, most participants bend their spine to get a low posture, which puts pressure on the lower back and causes lumbar stenosis over time.

Can I Play Pickleball With Spinal Stenosis?

With pickleball lovers, the news that playing this kind of game can lead to spinal stenosis is annoying. A question might pop up in their head if they have already suffered from this health problem: Is it possible for them to keep playing the game?

The answer will depend on the level of the illness. If you usually have severe symptoms of this disease, like jolting, hand or leg numbness, consistent lower back pains, etc., then you should not join a pickleball match as it will worsen the problem.

However, you can still enjoy the competition when you are at the beginning of the symptoms by changing your playing habits. 

Take a warm-up exercise as a must. Stretching out before participating in the match will help reduce the risk of a narrow spine while enabling you to play it as much as you wish.

Besides, you can participate in the game with spinal stenosis once you change to the correct form of the back upright position. Day by day, you will see an improvement in your body, and the pain will disappear without a trace.

Stay in a low position with the knee instead of the back in pickleball

Can I Play Pickleball With Spinal Stenosis
Can I Play Pickleball With Spinal Stenosis

Treating Spinal Stenosis Physical Therapy

The natural reaction some people might think when they face spinal stenosis is to stay away from physical activities, as they can make the problem worse.

That is not the case. You can minimize the pain and strengthen your back and core muscles by practicing correct and suitable physical therapy. These exercises will help gradually change the spine’s lumbar curvature to improve the width of the spinal canal.  

Besides, they can go a long way to ease your symptoms and increase your flexibility, balance, and endurance.

Physical therapy might vary depending on your status, needs, and goals. These include gentle movement to alleviate the pain as an instant resolution, stretching and strengthening exercises to enhance the mobility of muscles and joints, as well as reinforce the arms, shoulders, and legs.

The therapy can also be message sessions with an aim to release the pressure in the spine and enhance the flexibility of the stiff joints. Rehabilitation equipment like a harness device or postural education might also be provided to support your spinal cord and teach you ways to walk, stand, and sit in a proper position.

Massage is one of the physical therapies to treat back pain 

Treating Spinal Stenosis Without Surgery

If you are suffering from spinal stenosis and do not want to have surgery, you can improve and erase the pain by changing your posture. 

Always keep your spine in an upright form, avoid bending or leaning your back too much, and eliminate repeatedly lifting heavy objects or twisting your body too often.

Another way to treat this illness is to use prescription medications to deal with the pain, tingling, and numbness. These oral medicines will act as painkillers and reduce the discomfort along with the inflammation of the problem.

However, despite their effectiveness, all medicines have side effects. Thus, carefully check with your doctor before taking any doses, even if they are non-prescription.

In case you want to have an instant effect, you can refer to the injection method. The doctor will inject corticosteroid medication in the location around the condensed spinal cords or nerves. 

The corticosteroid will then be brought into play, which helps reduce the pain and inflammation quickly and effectively. Depending on each patient, the relief can last for weeks or months.

Treating Spinal Stenosis Without Surgery
Injection of the spinal space


Is Pickleball Hard On The Spine?

Playing pickleball can be hard on the spine if we do not play it in the correct posture. 

Bending, twisting, and dinking repeatedly in the wrong form might stress the spine and gradually make it tear and wear out.

What Sports Should You Avoid With Spinal Stenosis? 

High-impact sports like running, jumping, or hiking are not recommended as they directly affect the spine. All contact/ collision activities like soccer, boxing, hockey, etc. that require gamers to play hard should be avoided too.

Is Pickleball Hard On Lower Back?

If you play this game in a suitable and straight position, it will not impact your lower back. 

However, most of the participants lean or bend forward to hit a ball. This inattentive action puts more pressure on the lower back, which is especially dangerous for those who have poor spine and low hip stability.

Is Pickleball Bad For Degenerative Disc Disease?

As the wrong playing post can strain the spine, which in turn puts pressure on the disc, playing pickleball is bad for degenerative disc disease.

Hence, if you are having this disease, you should postpone playing for a while until the pain gets better.


At this time, you can answer the question “Can I play pickleball with spinal stenosis?” at the beginning of the article. Yes, you can enjoy it if you have the correct therapy to reduce the symptoms.

Pickleball is a sport that requires participants to move in different planes continuously in a short period of time, so remember to always keep your spine straight during the match. Enjoy and take care!

>>See more: Can I Play Pickleball With Knee Arthritis?