Golf is an increasingly popular sport and hobby. It is one of the only sports that can be played for the entirety of one’s life.
Recreational golf can promote relaxation and can also be a way to stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Golf has been found to aid in blood circulation and muscle toning. However, there is a downside to playing the sport due to its impact on spinal health. Back injuries are the most common of golf-related injuries.
Because golf requires the exertion of excessive force from the shoulders and hips—as well as ancillary motions such as bending over to place balls on tees—it can be very detrimental to spinal health. This can leave players with recurring injuries that keep them away from the sport for extended periods.
Luckily, with the right treatment and techniques, you can protect yourself from back injuries, improve your form, and get better results out on the course. This article will outline some of the best ways to prevent and/or treat a back injury from golf.
Golf’s Impact on Spinal Health
While golf can help players stay active and maintain relatively strong physical health, because of the many repetitive motions involved and how polarized the exertion of force is, many players will find themselves suffering from back injuries that can worsen over time.
For example, because of the unilateral position from which golf is played (only swinging with one hand) compounded by the hours of repetitive motions, excess stress is placed on the spine and muscles. Not only that, but golfers will spend a lot of time bent over, exacerbating the potential for back injuries. Some of the more common back injuries from golf include:
- Lumbar strains: inflammation of the muscles in the lower back
- Herniated discs: involve damage to the cushions between each portion of vertebrae in the spine
- Joint arthritis: (sometimes called spondylosis) when the spine’s cartilage begins breaking down and the resulting inflammation and pain response.
The rate at which golfers repeat the same bending, twisting, and lifting motions are an endemic problem to the sport and something golfers likely deal with in some capacity. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the chances of getting a back injury from golf, and ways to treat injuries if they occur.
Preventing and Treating a Back Injury From Golf
These preventative practices and treatments can help you spend more time on the course and less time managing an injury.
Because your spine bends and twists during just about every motion involved in golf, many golfers will find that suboptimal spine alignment will negatively impact their game. Spinal realignment involves the manipulation of the spine to get it back into the proper position. This will enhance the biomechanics of your body and positively impact your performance while also protecting you from pain and injury.
Spinal realignment can be a long-term preventative solution to a back injury from golf and treatment for current pain. For example, spinal realignment can reduce forward head posture. This can have an immediate impact on your abilities by improving the coordination between sensory and motor functions, providing you with more accuracy and precision in your swings.
Something as simple as adopting a better swinging posture can go a long way toward preventing back injuries while on the green.
You will ideally want to stand with your knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and slightly outwardly rotated while trying to keep your spine straight. Although your trunk should be tilted forward, your hips should be doing the majority of the work. Also, make sure that you don’t hunch over the ball.
Do Light Warm-Up Exercises/Stretches
Before you tee up, make sure you’ve taken around five to 10 minutes to get your muscles ready for motion. These can be exercises such as light as a walk, jumping jacks, or stretches.
Some other excellent warmups for golf are:
- Toe touches
- Reverse Lunges with overhead reach
- Body-weight squats
- Split stance rotations
- Speed swings
It is extremely easy to incorporate these light exercises into your golf routine and you will likely see improved technique as well as reduce your risk of back injury.
Maintain Good Core Strength
Because golf utilizes so much of your body, especially the back, the importance of core strength cannot be understated. The core encompasses the entire musculoskeletal structure of your torso.
Golf isn’t just about power; this portion of your body is responsible for stabilizing you when you swing and maintaining your balance. Taking time outside of golf to work the muscles in your core will help you protect your back.
Improve Your Swing and Spine Health with Chiropractic BioPhysics®
Because of the constant and repetitive duress that your spine is under, it’s easy to get a back injury from golf. Not only does this keep you away from doing what you love, but it can also negatively impact your ability when you’re playing.
If you’re a golfer that’s either battling pain or looking to lower their scores on the green, partnering with a Chiropractic BioPhysics® provider like PostureWorks could be the perfect solution. The doctors at PostureWorks use work to target sources of back pain via a combination of non-surgical, chiropractic treatments to promote short-term and long-term injury prevention and pain relief.
The benefits of preventative care don’t stop at injury prevention and treatment. You will also improve your hand-eye coordination, increase your balance, and hit further with more precision than before because your whole body will be working more efficiently.Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. If you have or want to prevent a back injury from golf, contact us today to schedule your appointment.