One of the most common reasons why golfers stop playing is due to chronic lower back pain, with cases being so common that nearly 30% of golfers have experienced limited play due to lower back pain. There are various reasons for why golfers get lower back pain, such as poor technique and over exposure. When considering the forces involved throughout a golf swing, it’s no wonder the musculoskeletal damage to the spine can be long lasting and highly painful. With summer right around the corner, and golfers just itching to get out onto the course, we’ve put together some top tips on how to reduce the risk of injuring your lower back whilst playing golf this summer!
- Get training!
Why wait until the golf season before you start to get in shape? We recommend that you exercise in three areas to fully prepare your body. These areas include, aerobic exercise which can be done in the form of a half hour walk/cycle/swim twice a week. Secondly, stretching. This is highly important as stretching your hip reflectors reduces the stress to the spine which is vital for the swinging motion created when golfing. Finally, strengthen! Again, when swinging, you’re using a lot of your core and leg muscles, so strengthening these areas will give you better stability and power when swinging, reducing the chance of injury.
- Classic Swing
It’s recommended that you learn the classic style golf swing as this reduces the limited hip and pelvis rotation by swinging both the hips and shoulders, opposed to the modern swing which keeps the torso and shoulders in a loaded position. This modern swing can be linked with the increasing number of golfers suffering from lower back pain, with many golfing pro’s recommending the classic style which has a greater biomechanics in the swing.
- Ease yourself in
It’s always fun to get to the driving range, crack out that driver and start sending those balls down the range as far as possible. This however, is not so much fun for your back, with those powerful repeat drives causing a lot of distress to yur spine. It’s recommended you start off slowly with some chips and pitches, and then process your way up through the bag. This will slowly ease you into the game, reducing your chance of injury during training.
- Don’t go too hard!
Whilst competition can get the better of you, making you want to drive the ball as far as Happy Gilmore, we recommend that you don’t exhaust yourself trying to get the ball as further than your ability will allow, as you risk injuring yourself and interrupting your training calendar.
- Play within your capabilities
If you’ve had the winter season off, don’t jump straight in the deep end by playing 18 holes straight away. You’re body is’nt ready, and neither will your mind be. You can injure yourself playing too much, too soon, so ease yourself back into the game. Start off your golfing season with a few practises at the range first, and a few holes over a couple of weeks to really give your body the warm up it needs.
- If in doubt, cut it out
If when playing again you feel any kind of back pain, simply stop! If you keep on playing throughout a pain hoping that it’ll ‘wear off’ you can be causing a lot of long term damage to your spine and body generally. It’s best to go and get a professional medical opinion on your symptoms as early intervention makes the damage a lot easier to treat than to wait until the pain is unbearable, and the damage sometimes untreatable.