Golfing at Sunset

Lower Your Golf Scores without Lower Back Pain

As much as we would like to think so, we here at SpineOne are not golf pros, but we do have some back pain tips that likely will also shave some strokes off your game.  It’s our belief that there are two types of golfers in this world; those whom have back pain and those whom will have back pain. However, you can still enjoy the game with less pain by following these simple tips before, during and after stepping onto the tee box.

NOTE: If you already have back pain or if any of the following exercises increase your back pain, you should stop and check with a back pain specialist before continuing.

Make sure you stretch and warm up before you play. Every type of athlete warms up before competition. Golf is no different. Here are a few simple stretches you can do before you grip it and rip it (the golf club, not your back).

Leg Swings

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Standing on one leg, swing the opposite leg forward and backward while keeping your knee straight. You can use a driver for balance. Swing the leg from side to side 15 times in each direction and then switch your legs and repeat.

Dynamic Lunge with Reach

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Lunges are a great way to activate key hip muscles, and since we are golfing, we also need to kick in the upper body musculature and abdominals. To begin, take and hold a golf club at both ends and while performing a lunge and reach overhead. Complete five repetitions for each leg.

Lunge & Twist

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Next, lunge forward and place the golf club behind your shoulders. Twist your body to the right five times and to the left five times.

Pivot Rotation

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To get the hips and thoracic spine involved in the rotation, take a golf club and hold at both ends with your feet shoulder width apart. Rotate the club to each side. Allow your hips to rotate with this motion and shift your weight to the opposite toe. Complete 20 repetitions.

Club Up

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There is no shame in moving up a club or two to get more distance with less effort, especially if you have back pain.  It is more embarrassing to swing too hard, pull your head up and miss the ball completely only to take an early ride back to the clubhouse with a sprained back and a new appointment with your back pain and spine specialist.

golf_stancePractice Good Body Mechanics

Good body mechanics throughout your swing not only improve your game, but they also reduce stress on your low (lumbar) back, which decreases the risk for back injury and pain.  Many golfers try to rotate through their swing at the low back.  The low back is not designed for rotation and will become very unhappy if one repeatedly rotates at their lumbar spine.

Many golfers drop their hips down, tuck in their butt and hunch their shoulders when addressing the ball, causing shear stress across the lower back.  The opposite of this position is a hyper-arched back, which over extends the back muscles, creating un-needed stress on the low back.

The best solution for swinging the club with little or no lower back rotation is to make sure your back is in a “neutral” position (Figure 5) instead of an over-extended or flexed position while addressing the ball.  This is accomplished by moving your back between these two extremes until you find a comfortable and natural posture between the two positions. This allows for rotation at the middle (thoracic) back—alleviating stress, pain and possible injury to the lower back.

Strengthen Your Core

Prevention is the best prescription when it comes to confronting back pain.  When you are not golfing, you can implement a few simple exercises to strengthen your abdominal and gluteal muscles.  These will help strengthen your core, increase flexibility and assist with rotation in your swing.

If chronic back pain keeps you from doing what you love to do and you are unable to find a solution, it may be time to speak to spine care specialist.

SpineOne offers a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to meet the pain management needs of each individual patient. The physicians at SpineOne practice minimally invasive procedures to get you back on your feet and enjoying your life again. SpineOne provides doctor consultations, MRIs and treatments all from the same facility for your convenience. Same-day appointments are also available upon request.