Fix your swing, decrease low back pain!
There are 26 million golfers in the U.S. and rising. The number 1 injury sustained by golfers is low back pain. Most golfers report back pain developing over time rather than one incident, and the average injury last about 2-4 weeks. Prevention is managed by addressing movement patterns, muscle imbalances, and type of swing used. These factors directly impact the spine during the golf swing, therefore need to be addressed to prevent or rehabilitate the low back injury.
Sports Health Journal identifies early extension of the low back, reverse spine angle during back-swing and reverse -C finish as the top 3 swing faults related to low back pain.
Images: Finn C. Rehabilitation of low back pain in golfers: from diagnosis to return to sport. Sports Health. 2013;5(4):313–319. doi:10.1177/1941738113479893
Core strength, scapular and hip stabilization are important foundations for the swing. Rehabilitation and prevention start with addressing the function of the above-mentioned areas.
Core muscles should be engaged during the swing to stabilize the spine during postural changes and loads. Diaphragmatic breathing is a large component of core stabilization during a golf game, even putting. The multifidus, quadratus lumborum, transverse abdominis, external obliques, hip abductors, all contribute to core stability.
Training of these muscles should be integrated early in rehab and transitions well to on-course application. Exercises that isolate the target muscles are a great starting point and can be prescribed and demonstrated by a health care provider. Core stability training can be heightened by performing on unstable surfaces such as bosu balls, balance discs or physio balls.
The shoulder blades, shoulder mobility and thoracic range of motion in extension/rotation, hip mobility, ankle mobility, balance can all causes compensation patterns to arise. Therefore, should also be assessed and addressed in prevention/rehabilitation.
You can do all of this by working with a professional in the medical field such as a chiropractor or physical therapist to identify faulty mechanics. A golf pro can help you to identify problems you might have in the sequence of your swing for functionality. The medical professional will help to identify and rehabilitate muscular compensations that have occurred and work to establish balance and increase mobility and strength where needed.
Don't let low back pain keep you from playing your best game!
Dr. Allison Fleming and