Golf and back pain

Golf is a very popular sport for people of all ages, but it’s also one that can cause many players back pain if a few precautions aren’t taken. There are some key areas that can help prevent injury.

Warming up

A proper warmup before starting your round of golf can dramatically decrease the chance of back injury. Start by walking for ten minutes to warm the muscles and joints of the body. Then perform a light stretching routine specifically targeting the hamstrings, lower back and shoulders. After stretching, a few minutes of light swinging with a club (not full golf swings), will prepare the joints and muscles for twisting. And finally, some practice shots on the driving range. Start with some easy pitch shots, then small irons before progressing to larger woods. Muscles that have been stretched gradually are much less prone to injury.

Your swing

Golf is a unilateral sport; most players swing either right or left-handed. This can cause an imbalance in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that protect the spine. These imbalances can lead to muscle tightness, muscle spasm, and even chronic pain. A simple tip to help avoid these imbalances is to take several swings with your opposite hand during your warm-up and at least every other hole during the round.

Good balance, even weight distribution, and developing a correct technique for the swing can reduce stress to your lower back. When you first start to play golf it’s advisable to take lessons or advice from a sport professional to help you achieve the correct posture.

Strength training

Strength training is sometimes overlooked by many golfers, or not considered very important, but it should be performed by all golfers. Be sure to focus on core strengthening exercises. Planks, cat-cow yoga poses, push-ups, and bodyweight squats are all simple, effective ways to start a core strengthening routine with no weights or gym membership needed. Of course, good weightlifting and/or yoga routine can help take your core fitness (and golf swing) to a new level.

If your technique has you missing rounds of golf due to nagging back pain, consult your chiropractor. Take care of your body and your golf handicap might just benefit as well!

This article first appeared in the January/ February 2020 issue of the Your Chiropractor magazine. Pickup your at your next Chiropractic or Massage appointment at our Melbourne CBD Chiropractic practice.