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TIPS TO WARD OFF LOW BACK PAIN ON THE GOLF COURSE

TIPS TO WARD OFF LOW BACK PAIN ON THE GOLF COURSE By Lauren Aplington, DPT

As the temperatures are starting to cool down, and your plans to play another round are derailed when pain in your low back starts telling you to stay in bed.

Low back (lumbar spine) pain is the most common ailment suffered by golfers. Typical injuries range from less severe muscle strains and ligament sprains to more severe bulging or herniated discs. The high rate of low back injuries and pain can be attributed to poor golf swing mechanics, lack of mobility in joints, lack of muscle flexibility or favoring the wrong muscles causing stress on the lumbar spine. Here are some tips that can help you eliminate your back pain and get back to enjoying the sport you love: 

Warm-up Walking up to the first tee box and pulling out your driver is not doing any favors for your lower back. Coming in “cold” causes increased strain on soft tissue and can lead to injury. Leave yourself a little time for stretching and a few practice swings. Be sure to include warming up your arms, trunk, and hips to address rotational range of motion. Here are a few warm ups you can include:

* Golf stance pelvic tilt

* Golf stance trunk rotation with arms crossed in front of your chest

* Trunk rotation with club and hands behind head, also rotating in hips

* Trunk side bending with overhead reach

* Standing ankle rocks

For practice swings, start with putting or chipping and work your way up to driving the ball. This will warm up your body and decrease the impact of torsion in your lumbar spine. There’s no need to hit 200 balls and wear yourself out.

Swing Mechanics – Taking stress off your lumbar spine There are several poor swing habits that can contribute to low back pain. The most common swing characteristic is a reverse spine angle (RSA). This is caused by lack of mobility in your thoracic spine and hips. Without proper trunk/hip rotation, your lumbar spine compensates with excessive extension to complete the backswing. On the downswing, your body again compensates with excessive flexion and side bending to return to the impact position. This puts repeated stress on your lumbar spine. Additionally, lack of mobility in your rotational components, i.e. your shoulders, thoracic spine, and hips, can translate to excess force non-rotating elements i.e. your lower back, causing pain. When trunk and hip rotation are limited, the lumbar spine receives increased stress.

Seek Professional Evaluation You should work with a golf professional and a licensed physical therapist to identify poor swing mechanics and determine the right movements to relieve undue stress. At ARC Physical Therapy, we have therapists that have been formally trained by the Titlist Performance Institute to evaluate and educate golfers to ensure better outcomes and movement patterns. Contact ARC Physical Therapy for your free consultation at arcphysicaltherapy.com or call (630) 832-6919

 


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