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Sports Spine Centre

What is the philosophy of the Sports Spine Centre?

Consistant with the most recent, evidence-based international guidelines, Aspetar’s Sports Spine Centre will prioritise the use of conservative non-pharmacological rehabilitation.  The Sports Spine Centre will be among the first facilities in the world to offers a truly multi-dimensional, personalised management approach for athletes with spinal pain.

The initial step of this approach involves screening for serious underlying pathology (e.g. infection or malignancy). In these rare cases, suitable onward referral will be indicated. Thereafter, the remaining 95% of patients are managed by determining which precise mix of possible contributing factors are linked to their pain, rather than simply seeking to treat the symptom of pain alone. There are two stages to this approach

- First, all athletes undergo a comprehensive, multi-dimensional evaluation of the factors which might contribute to their pain. This can include traditional aspects such as evaluating the likelihood of underlying tissue strain or damage related to the pain, or examining physical characteristics such as posture and muscle activation. However, our evaluation also encompasses a wide range of other factors known to be linked to spinal pain such as: cognitive (e.g. thoughts, beliefs), emotional (e.g. mood, fears), lifestyle (e.g. sleep, stress) and physiological (e.g. training load, strength, obesity) factors.

- Second, the specific contributing factors identified for each person with spinal pain are then targeted in a manner which is evidence-based, and in line with the wishes and capacity of the person with spinal pain, and any other relevant stakeholders (e.g. coaches, medical team, employer). This approach has been shown to be effective in international research in which we have collaborated.


What type of treatment is used?

The precise management programme is individualised and based on the aforementioned comprehensive evaluation. For example, in cases where large increases in training have triggered the onset of pain, education regarding management of training will be used along with conditioning to prepare for such training in future. In other cases, relatively benign imaging findings may have been interpreted inappropriately, leading to unhelpful fears, such that accurately explaining what these findings indicate may be central to management.

Notwithstanding these individual variations in management which will naturally occur, some key consistent themes of the Sports Spine Centre are:

·    Even though spinal pain is common and sometimes disabling, the spine is robust, and not the vulnerable, easily damaged structure which it is often portrayed as.

·    Treat the (wo)man, not the scan: Tests such as MRI scans can provide us with a better ability to view the spine, but often without improving outcomes. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that imaging can be harmful if it leads to people inappropriately avoiding activity or viewing themselves as damaged.

·    Activity is generally safe and helpful for spinal pain.

·    Overall health (e.g. sleep, stress, diet, wok-life balance) is important.

·    Pain is real – and not in your head. Nevertheless, better understanding what pain is and how you can help control it is valuable.


Who will I be seen by?

The core clinical staff at the Sports Spine Centre are physiotherapists with expertise in managing spinal pain. These staff can then coordinate care with a range of other professions at Aspetar that may include sports medicine doctors, physical medicine and pain management doctors, physical fitness coaches, sports scientists, psychologists, radiologists, nutritionists, and podiatrists.

Scope of Practice:

Currently, the Sports Spine Centre offers rehabilitation to athletes (registered, international).



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  • If you are professional or recreational athlete, you can request appointment online. You will need Qatar ID or Passport

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