If you’ve NEVER played a round of golf, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s not much to it, and that there’s very little chance of you being injured if all you’re doing is a bit of walking and striking a few balls every once in a while. But that’s not the case.
Golfers are frequent visitors to our clinics due to a number of issues.
And if it’s not a back issue, it’s an elbow or a knee issue or an Achilles injury.
See, the problem with golf is that it involves a lot of positions that the body isn’t designed to be in – and the temptation (of frustrated amateur golfers who haven’t taken lessons at least!), is to want to hit the ball with too much power to make it go further. And, when you do that, combined with these awkward twisting and turning positions, you eventually stress the body too much.
Your back is designed to have some rotation in it – but just enough to allow you to lean to the side to pick something up or move out of the way of an object coming towards you, to keep your-self safe. But NOT to go through the extremes of motion that it does when you’re “teeing off”.
So assuming that you’re not going to stop playing – and assuming that you’ll never quite resist the urge to always want to hit the ball just that little bit harder hoping it travels further, what can you do about it to avoid back pain?
Two Easy Things: Flexibility and Stability
Make sure you’re flexible through your shoulders, back and hips, as well as increase the strength and control of the muscles around your spine. You don’t need to bulk up – you really don’t have to worry about the strength of muscles, as much as you do the “control” – not if you want to limit back pain! And besides, having the right “control” and mobility, usually means that other muscles get stronger as a happy by product.
So, the muscles you need to focus on are called your “core” muscle group – and they work to hold your spine in place when you get into positions that you’re not really supposed to be in – like when you swing a golf club!
So, if these muscles are all working for you, properly, it means the discs and joints in your lower spine are being held firm in their correct positions – even if you swing a bit to hard and fast.
Balance ball exercises – the kind you might see people in the gym doing (on the big blow up balls) are what you need to get doing with. That, or invest in a Pilates DVD or start going along to a class once or twice per week.
And doing so will also give you a chance of hitting the ball further without hitting it harder. Why? Because your core muscle group means that all of your other muscles will work more efficiently and will help no matter what sport you play.
If you’re a runner, core muscles will mean you can run further too. If you were a boxer, having the muscles around your spine working better means you would be able to hit harder. Even those who play soccer, baseball or football will benefit from a solid core – from an early age too – so that players can limit the chance of being injured, but maximize the power they can get from their quads and hamstrings meaning they can run faster.
So there you have it – it’s not all about looking as fit and lean, though that does not hurt, but, the muscles you really need to work on if you’re aged 35-55+ playing some weekend golf are the muscles that you’ll never see.
But, you’ll know they’re working because you’ll be suffering much less backache by the time you reach the 18th hole. These muscles even help you when you “sit down” too – which is great, when you reach the 19th hole.
P.S If you want some more help with easing back pain from your golf swing, please reach out to us and let us help you get you back in the swing for the upcoming season. Concord: 704-707-4282, Harrisburg: 704-455-1172 and Charleston: 843 597-8135. Don’t risk injury so early in the season, come in for a flexibility and stability assessment today and make your golfing last all season long. Our therapists have worked with many pro golfers!!