How to Avoid Lower Back Pain in Golfers

Low back pain is the most common musculoskeletal reason that golfers stop playing.  It is estimated that up to one third of golfers have to limit their playing due to back pain.  It may be due to poor conditioning, poor swing pattern or in the more elite golfer, like in many sports, overuse.  Swinging a golf club puts enormous forces through your spine and if you have a poor swing this will increase the problem.  It is important to get some lessons to not only maximise your golfing ability but also to correct these biomechanical issues that may be loading your spine.  Keep up your fitness levels and flexibility, as this will help your overall conditioning so that you don’t get tired on the back 9 and lose more technique.  Fatigue in any sport is a huge risk factor in injury.  Don’t over-practice, period, but especially with your long clubs, which increase the lever arm and hence the load esp through your back and shoulders.  Start with some chips and pitches and as you warm up then pick up your driver.  Play within your capabilities and build up to that “bigger game”.  With better technique you will improve your game naturally.  Finally, if you have pain, get it evaluated so that you can correct the problem in the long-term and enjoy your golf more.  It may be that you have some stiffness in your thoracic spine (middle back) which needs to be mobilised.  Your spine does not rotate in the lumbar spine (lower back) only the thoracic and lumbosacral spine (lower part of the lower back).  Therefore, stiffness in the thoracic spine will cause more load through the lumbosacral spine as your body “takes the least path of resistance” and will move at a more “mobile” segment.  This overloads this area and causes pain.  You may need some regular massage and physiotherapy to correct this problem.  Also, you may have tightness in your hip joints (esp with arthritis) or in your shoulder muscles/capsule which may also inhibit your swing.  An evaluation of these areas is important so that you don’t overload areas and cause pain and further reduction in technique.  If you would like further advice on this matter, call us for an appointment and we can help you improve your game and get that handicap down once and for all!!  Enjoy your golf.

By Melanie Roberts

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