A fast lane to pain?

Stein is a Times staff writer.

We know that professional athletes regularly suffer injuries, but amateur athletes can experience serious pains as well.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel surveyed 98 amateurs in two bowling clubs. They were given questionnaires to assess musculoskeletal disorders as well as other factors, such as features of the game itself. Some 62% of bowlers said they experienced musculoskeletal symptoms in one or more joints during the last year. The number of leagues that bowlers participated in was a predictor of painful joints in the upper extremities, and the average achievement of bowlers predicted the number of painful joints in the entire body.

“Increasing numbers of adults are pursuing amateur athletics during their leisure hours,” said lead author Navah Ratzon via a news release. “But we’ve found worrying indications that this activity -- when not done properly -- may have negative effects on the musculoskeletal system.”


Stretching is always important, she said, but so is exercising muscles that don’t get used that often. For example, tennis players and bowlers need to work their non-dominant arms and shore up other muscle groups to balance any asymmetries. The study was published recently in the journal Work.