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Doctor's Notes

Spring Blog Entry: Golf and Back Pain

by Ryan Hogan 12 Apr 2017
There is no question that the back is exposed to strain, stress, injury and pain by the repetitive nature of the golf swing.

All across the world, the most common injury among amateur golfers is back pain. Both flexibility and golf specific strength are required by the golf swing and in order to withstand the stress the low back is under, this applies specifically in your core area. Should your core be inflexible or weak, into the lower back, glutes or perhaps even the hip area all the pressure will go.

Over a lower body which is stable, the rotation of the upper body is the physical demand that we are pointing out can and will wreak havoc on the lower back of the golfer and cause them a pain level that can easily grow quite high.

Every round played, this movement will happen well over a hundred times when you add everything up. You start with the balls hit in practice, the before every shot pre-shot swings and the actual swings of the game themselves. You cannot forget bending down to place the ball on the tee and of course, removing from each hole when that putt has been sunk!

Some Suggestions How Best To Avoid Injury:

1. Make certain to warm up properly

If you possibly can, try to get to the course with enough time to hit a bucket of balls before you have to tee off. Unfortunately, what happens too often is that a mad dash is made from one's car to the first tee. Should that be the case, try and stretch that mad dash just a bit further!

If you can hoof around the parking lot for 10 minutes or so, you will get the blood flow to the muscles increasing which will help to not only lessen your risk of injury and decrease the stiffness of your muscles, but may also help improve your performance on the links!

2. Properly maintain the flexibility of your hips and trunk

Maintain flexibility through lower back stretching, hamstring stretching and thoracic rotation.

Since a higher level of flexibility is required by the golf swing, it simply makes sense to put into use golf stretching exercises which isolate the core, hamstrings and lower back.

Depending on the time that they are done, these stretches can be both static(holding) and dynamic(movement). As an example, to prepare the body to perform, before practice or golf the dynamic stretches should be employed. After completion of a round, the static stretches isolating the areas mentioned above should be put to use.

Keep in mind that it is only when it is done consistently that golf stretching will be effective. By consistently, we are referring to either an every day basis, or at least an every other day basis. If left alone, muscles can very quickly "go back". If not stretched regularly, they can and will quickly tighten up!

3. Gain strength and stay strong

When it comes to increasing your core strength, you do have a lot of options.

Golf specific classes are fashioned to increase your level of fitness as well as to improve your balance and flexibility. This targeted training will improve your golfing ability along with your overall athletic performance.

Core strengthening classes are fashioned to address and strengthen those "core" muscles that include multifidus muscles, transverse abdominals, obliques and rectus abdominals, along with keeping them in sync with the lower and upper extremities.

Your balance is greatly improved as you transfer weight in your golf swing by strong core muscles.

Finally, you will be able to personalize various exercises to improve your overall posture and conditioning for golf, as well as identify any musculoskeletal imbalances if you seek to consult with a physical therapist.

Get going today so that you can enjoy your golf season this year pain free!
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