Is your love for golf causing back pain?
Golf is one of the most played sports by the general population in America. More than 30,000,000 Americans play golf, and more than 40% of golfers will experience an injury while golfing. One of the most common complaints from golfers is low back pain.
It’s no wonder golfers suffer a lot of back pain. Picture the contortions a golfer’s spine goes through during each and every shot. First, he or she asks it to twist as much as they can in one direction for the backswing; then, after hesitating for a second, the golfer’s back must suddenly change direction, forcefully twist and bend through the downswing, absorb the impact of the golf club hitting an inanimate object, and then continue twisting for the follow-through. This crazy maneuver is then repeated about 70 times (or 180, as the case may be) per round.
How a Chiropractor can help your golf game
- Injury prevention– 40% of amateurs will experience a golfing injury.
- Flexibility– A chiropractor will improve your range of motion and help get your muscles into positions they haven’t been in years.
- Nutrition– Chiropractors will recommend better alternatives to relive muscle inflammation.
- Lower scores– Your muscles will be stronger and more flexible. This will lead to better stamina and your game will be just as good on the 18th green as it was on the 1st tee box.
Many golfers could benefit from chiropractic spinal adjustments, which correct spinal deviations and muscle imbalances. Tiger Woods, who has had numerous injuries throughout his golfing career, has said that chiropractic treatments are as important to him as practicing his swing. Not only can chiropractic care decrease the pain associated with extreme activity followed by inactivity, but it can also improve a golfer’s range of motion and swing. In fact, golfers could be doing themselves a disservice by not getting their backs cared for.
What is causing your pain when you golf?
Such movement would be hard on even the fittest athlete. That problem is compounded when you consider most golfers are strictly weekend players, mixing this intense activity with long periods of idleness that leave their muscles weak, tight and prone to injury. (This can occur even if the golfer is active in other sports, as the demands on muscles often differ for different activities.) Then, each time the weekend golfer returns to the links and forces these weak or tight muscles into action, it can put excessive stress on the spine and spinal joints resulting in poor spinal joint mechanics. This can decrease power, as well as speed, hand-eye coordination and consistency.
Tiger Woods trains his body to withstand the stress his golf swing puts on his body every day and still needs chiropractic care. For normal golfer’s that do not have the time to keep their golfing muscles in top shape chiropractic care would help them tremendously.
Things you can do to help prevent pain while you golf
- A shorter back swing- A golfer’s club not be past parallel to the ground at the top of his or her swing. A backswing that is too long will be inconsistent and less powerful.
- Stretch- Stretching your shoulders and back are keys to having a good golf swing. Here are two stretches you can do at home to help loosen up your back and shoulder muscles.
- Warm-up before you play- Warming up is essential before every round a golf. Stretching than practicing with your wedges first, starting with short pitches than moving to a fuller swing will help you prevent pulling a muscle.
- Have good tempo- A swing that is smooth and from top to bottom will have less stress on your back and spine than a quick and jerky swing.
Chiropractors can also make nutritional and exercise recommendations to help golfers prevent back problems and maintain good spinal health. For instance, rehabilitation exercises promote speedier recovery and warm-up exercises can be beneficial before each game. Certain exercises will also help golfers strengthen abdominal muscles to reduce strain on the back muscles. Recent chiropractic research has found that using a shorter backswing cuts down on stress on the lumbar spine and, if done properly, can be just as effective in achieving maximum clubhead speed (a measure of how far the ball is hit).
Chiropractors can also recommend healthy ways to reduce inflammation, so that golfers can avoid over-the-counter painkillers such as ASA or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can be harsh on the stomach and can even cause gastrointestinal ulceration. Instead, some foods and natural supplements can provide anti-inflammatory action, while improving overall health. Dark green and other colorful vegetables, for example, are sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, bioflavonoids and other phytochemicals. In addition, supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, ginger, turmeric, boswellia and bromelain can further help decrease swelling around the spine.
While chiropractic care can be beneficial in maintaining overall back health, sometimes golf-related injuries cannot be avoided. That is why chiropractors have been urging their golfing patients to reduce spinal rotation during the backswing to lessen the chance of torsional injury.
If you do not currently seeing a chiropractor call Summit Chiropractic at 407-203-6745 and we’ll be happy to serve and educate you on how to make your body function the way that is was designed to.
If you likes this article, we recommend you read:
Brandon, B., & Pearce, P. (n.d.). Training to Prevent Golf Injury. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 142-146.