Preventing Lower Back Pain in Golfers
By Dr Sam Hunter, Mtech Chiro (RSA)
There is a saying that Gary Player once said “the more I practice the luckier I get” this is true not only when it comes to handicap though. The more you are aware of your health and situations and exacerbating factors, when it comes to golf, you can get “luckier” in preventing back pain too.
So where do the risks lie?
The swing itself can go wrong very quickly and when you hit the ground or miss the ball it puts much more stress onto the lower back. Likewise when you are going for maximum power in your stroke when your muscles are either cold at the beginning or fatiguing at the end.
The walking long distance on irregular ground and carrying heavy set of clubs are also factors.
One of the key issues will be do you feel the pain straight away or only the next day. If you feel the pain straight away then most likely you have a muscle tear or disc bulge.
The injuries most commonly occurring for the lower back in playing golf are the muscle strains from overuse, and then unfortunately the slipped disc. The slipped disc is a perhaps the one which either has been building up for some time when finally the swing hitting the ground, or maximum exertion swing, is the last straw. The heavy golf bag can also be a factor in this.
So how do we prevent this?
A cold or inactive muscle has almost no circulation going through it so in order to get peak performance right from the first swing the muscle has to be prepped and the circulation has to be increased in that muscle. This is achieved in many ways but for golfers the best is to just gently rotate the spine and swing gently, march on the spot in ever increasing intensity over 10 minutes. You can achieve a lot in ten minutes. Think about it like priming an engine.
Stretch regularly especially after any activity
Think about the stretches being like pressing the reset button on the muscle and returning it to default setting. Whichever position the muscle is in most often, this becomes the position it will stay in, if it is not stretched.
Work on your swing
Of course apart from the walking around the golf course there is the physical activity of the swing which is of course the most important part of the game. Experts will tell you there is no substitute for a smooth swing and good timing. Force and physical strength actually become secondary to a good timing and good transmission of energy from your swing into the ball. Your swing should be smooth and preferably one which does not call on the lower back excessively. The back muscles are there to act as a spring but quickly transferring the energy on to the club then the ball.
Of course once you have the pain already then unfortunately maybe it’s too late for these preventions and therefore one must go straight to the next step which is cure. Fortunately, there are many non-surgical solutions which are available to us in this modern age. The problem is most people don’t know about them.
The first solution is the spinal decompression, which is currently the most effective non-surgical solution for slipped disc.
This is, of course, supplemented with physiotherapy or chiropractic which is involved in realigning the bodies’ biomechanics and weight bearing.
Strengthening up your core muscles is a huge part of the treatment because the muscles act like an armor around the more delicate parts of your spine.
Low and high powered laser can flush out any inflammation in the muscles very effectively and create an increase in healing rate.
Cryotherapy is also a fantastic technique for reducing muscle spasms and quickly flushing out inflammation.
These are just a few of the solutions which we have waiting for you to get you out of pain fast and permanently, and the best part without needing surgery. Pain is always an indication that there is something going wrong so there should be no reason to wait it out and see. Start enjoying many more years of pain free golf again.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE IN PUBLISHED AS PUBLISHED IN ESSENZE MAGAZINE