Back pain is the most common complaint of golfers
If you are a golfer, then you know how important it is to have a strong and healthy back. Lower back pain can ruin your game and make playing golf very uncomfortable . In fact, back pain is the most common complaint of golfers and a tops the list of golf related injuries.
In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of low back pain (lumbar spine) and back injuries in golfers, how exercise and movement can help eliminate it and reduce the risk of serious injury.
Golfers are susceptible to lower back pain for a number of reasons. The golf swing is a very repetitive motion that can place a lot of stress on the spine.
Many amateur golfers are desk bound workers who suffer from poor posture and lack the mobility and flexibility necessary to perform the golf swing with the correct swing mechanics.
Tiger Woods is one of the most famous professional golfers to suffer from back pain. He had a very aggressive and explosive motion that placed a lot of stress on his lumbar spine causing low back pain. Tiger Woods caused severe damage to his lumbar spine resulting in disc herniation and stress fractures at various stages of his career.
The modern game's obsession with power has also lead to an increase in the number of golfers who suffer from lower back pain. Amateurs attempting to gain swing speed and distance, imitating players like Bryson DeChambeau, often have not invested in building a solid foundation enabling the body to handle increased swing speed.
The average driver today has a much larger head and longer shaft than drivers of the past. This increases the club's moment of inertia (MOI) making it much more difficult to swing with good from and maintain control of the club head . As a result, many golfers develop movement patterns and that encourage poor spine angle placing increased strain on their lower back.
At Elastic Golf we firmly believe prevention is always easier than treatment. The best way to prevent back pain is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping your body active.
A strong and healthy back requires good posture, mobility, flexibility, and core strength.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your posture:
Spending time warming up before you play golf or hit the range will help to increase your heart rate, eliminate joint stiffness, prepare muscles and improve your mobility. A solid warm up will help you to swing with better technique and prevent injuries from occurring.
Our free pre game warm up program takes between 15 to 20 minutes to complete and prepares your entire body for the golf swing. We start with the lower body and warm up the big muscle groups before moving into specialist golf swing movement patterns.
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Performing exercises that improve the mobility of your hips, thoracic spine and upper body will also help to reduce the risk of developing lower back injuries. Incorporating core strengthening and core stability into your regular exercise routine is essential for all golfers. Your golf swing will thank you!
If you are an amateur golfer there is immense value in understanding your swing mechanics, your unique movement patterns and identifying any muscle imbalances.
Common postural issues like a reverse spine angle can be detrimental both to your golf swing performance and your lumbar spine health.
Even swing problems like over twisting the lower back and under rotating the thoracic spine can lead to serious low back pain and serious injuries over time.
Partnering with a PGA professional and physiotherapist who is familiar with the golf industry or qualified in sports medicine can help ensure your golf swing is functioning properly or provide physical therapy programs to address any imbalances.
Most amateur golfers work in white collar roles spending hours a day sitting, contracting muscles and developing hunched spine angles. This poor posture opens the door to golf injuries.
Maintaining an active lifestyle, even when you're not playing golf, can help to reduce the risk of developing lower back pain. Try to avoid long periods of sitting or standing in the same position and make sure you move around regularly throughout the day.
Starting your day with some simple stretches, or following the 10 minute Wake Up Stretch Workout on Elastic Golf is a great way to compound improvements to mobility and flexibility.
Ever played golf found yourself being struck down by back pain mid round? Many golfers do. Here are 3 simple stretches you can do on the tee box to get back in the game.
Lie flat on your back, raise your knees keeping your knees together and your feet flat on the floor.
Keeping your back still, roll your pelvis and knees side to side.
Complete 10 reps on each side, you should feel your core and hips engage.
Lie flat on your back, raise knees keeping your feet in a wide stance. Keeping your back still, roll your pelvis and knees imitating wind screen wipers. You should feel your hip flexors stretch and relax.
Stand balanced and upright with a club across the back of your shoulders. Hinge your hips and let your body weight drop back and you tilt your upper body forward. Keep a neutral spine and feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings and calves.
Lie on your side, hold your legs at 90 degrees and extend your arms in front of you. Pull your top arm close to your body as if pulling a bow string feeling a stretch in your thoracic spine.
If you are unfortunate enough to develop golf related back pain there a number of things you can do to manage your symptoms. If you are in significant pain like nerve pain or pulled muscle pain we always advise you speak to a doctor or medical professional before following the advice below.
The first step is always to rest and allow your body to recover. This may involve taking some time away from the golf course and laying off strenuous activity.
After your round or post exercise take some time to apply a cold compress or ice pack to your lower back. This will help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with muscle strain.
A professional massage can also help to relieve back pain caused by golf. If you don’t have access to a professional masseuse, there are some simple self-massage techniques you can try at home with a foam roller.
Once the acute symptoms have subsided, it’s important to focus on exercises that build your mobility and flexibility, keeping spine health and good form in mind. Don't just focus on back muscles (exposing yourself a risk of over activation) or the injured area but the supporting regions like hamstrings, hip flexors and core muscles.
In exercise sessions following a game of golf or periods where you have used your golf swing excessively try to avoid work out sessions that induce muscle fatigue. Keep weights low, focus on good form and slowly increase or you could be at risk of other injuries.
Stretch programs that target the low back and thoracic spine are excellent for improving low and upper back pain - your golf swing will love you for it too!
The Elastic Golf Love your Back workout is a great example. An excellent targeted stretch and movement program aimed to reduce back injuries, back pain and create better blood flow in the lumbar region.
Our other workouts and programs will help get you and your golf swing back into shape, eliminate risk factors and avoid pain issues altogether. By working through our introduction programs you'll be working on preventing injury, improving your physical activity and reducing the risk of serious injury as well as eliminating golf related pain.
Back pain is the most common golf injury, and it’s no wonder when you consider how much power and swing speed the full spectrum of players from professionals to amateurs are trying to generate.
It's not the only cause with most amateur golfers spending a large portion of their day sedentary.
Back injuries are no fun but fortunately, prevention is key and it’s easy enough to exercise and move better. Incorporating exercises focused on core strengthening, mobility and functional strength.
If back pain in the lumbar spine does develop; there are stretches, exercises and physical therapy that can help alleviate the discomfort associated with the muscle strains.
If you really want to up your game, our Elastic Golf app can help improve your golf body so you can move better and swing with ease.