There were one hundred and ninety seven patients who presented with back pain to an Athletes Clinic over four years. Their mode of presentation, investigations, diagnoses and treatments are analysed. The majority of patients were male and below 30 years of age. The average duration of symptoms prior to presentation, despite an easy access policy, was 42 weeks. Injury was usually related to six popular sports. Radiological examination was a rewarding investigation in these patients and included an A-P view of the pelvis. The diagnostic label of prolapsed intervertebral disc appears to have been used too frequently. Physiotherapy was the most useful treatment modality regardless of age, mode of onset and duration of symptoms.
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