Golf may seem like a laid-back sport that carries little risk of physical injury. The truth is a correct golf swing requires a great deal of balance, flexibility and core strength, otherwise it can place a great deal of strain on the spine and it’s soft tissues.
With interest in the sport growing, the incidence of golf-related back pain is also increasing. Frequent play can aggravate chronic or intermittent low back pain that may keep you from enjoying your game. Warming up before you play can go a long way to stop the cycle of golf and back pain while improving your performance!
Focus on Stretching and Taking Practice Swings
- Trunk rotations allow you to warm-up the torso by mimicking the motion you will use to swing your club. Place a golf club across the back of your shoulders and slowly twist from left to right to stretch the torso and the shoulders. The lower body should remain stable while only moving the torso.
- Stretch your quadriceps muscles by standing with a chair or bench behind you with your arms crossed over your chest. Bend your knee so that one foot is resting on the seat of the chair or bench. Squeeze your buttocks muscles to cause a contraction of these muscles in the front of the thigh. Follow the motions of your golf swing. Repeat on the other side.
- Stretch your back by standing behind the back of a chair with your feet apart. Hold the back of the chair while keeping your back straight and then drop your body down and pull it away from the chair to create a stretch near the armpits.
- While sitting tall on a bench or chair, place the ankle from one leg on top of the thigh of the other leg. Use your forearm to push down on the bent leg. Lean forward at your pelvis while keeping your back straight to create a gentle stretch in your hip and thigh. Repeat on the other side.
- Woodchops are a good golf warm-up because they reach the abs, legs and back. Stand holding a golf club straight up and down, perpendicular to the ground. Raise the club slowly over the head while holding your arms straight. Keep back slightly arched to stretch the chest. Next, bring the club down and between your knees while you go into a squatting position. Maintain a flat back and hold abs in throughout the stretch. Be sure to move slowly so that it takes 30 seconds to complete the entire stretch.
Importance of a Healthy Back for Good Swing Biomechanics & Vice Versa!
It really does work both ways. Prevent golf related muscle sprains or strains with appropriate preparation and warm-ups. Poor swing biomechanics will take their toll over time—even for golfers who are relatively young and fit. Swings that are off-balance or that rely on the wrong muscle groups to generate power can injure players. The reverse is also true—players who are nursing back injuries (and other types of injuries, for that matter) frequently compensate by making changes in their golf swing that not only hurt their performance but also put them at risk for more injuries.
Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Many chiropractic doctors have specialized training in biomechanics and some have made a particular study of golf performance and golf-related injuries. We offer computerized foot and gait examinations to gain valuable information about how you balance on your feet and it’s effect on your strength and core stability. If you are a golfer who’s interested in getting or staying healthy and improving your game, call or visit us for a no charge consultation. Your back and game will thank you!