The number of people suffering with back pain is ever increasing, with respected research suggesting 2 in 3 of us will struggle with a back problem at sometime in our lives.
Of course, some activities (as well as in-activities!) contribute to the problem more than others. And, unsurprisingly, golf is one of the sports that can put great stress on your back, so it’s important to keep in good shape on and off the course.
At Central Physio we see lots of golfers with back complaints. The golf swing technique (good or otherwise) demands rotation, twisting and sometimes poor posture over a sustained period of several hours. Add to that carrying a heavy bag, the odd awkward shot that creates strain, lots of bending and walking over varying terrains, and the potential for golf related back injuries is alarming.
Fear not though, and just before you post those golf clubs on eBay, remember that as with all sporting activities there’s lots of prevention measures we can take to avoid such problems.
So, before teeing it up next time, please consider the following advice on how to prevent those niggly golf back problems occurring…and the Golfer’s Back developing
A lack of flexibility is probably the number one reason for golf related back problems developing If you have any tightness in your neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs you might be asking for trouble in any part of your body, but in particular your back. The tighter you are then the more likely you are to pull something whilst making those big twisting shots.
To help counter this, remember to stretch before, during (regularly!) and after your round. Consider attending a yoga or pilates class once a week and find time for a regular Sports Massage
Increasing flexibility not only reduces the likelihood of back injuries, but can also add yards to your shots and decrease your golf handicap!
General Strength & Muscle Balance
General strengthening can be useful. It’s not all about going to the gym and pushing big weights, but maybe doing some body weight type exercise involving cross training once a week (such as a circuit class). This will go some way in helping to maintain a good level of general strength, and also work the whole body to achieve more muscle balance. If you only ever play golf then you’re working repeatedly in one direction and creating muscle imbalance, which can then lead to injuries.
This is the middle part of your body, which acts like a girdle supporting and giving you the strong base to launch your golf swing. The stronger your core the more you reduce the chance of back and other golf related injury. There are many ways of improving your core with specific exercise you can do at home or incorporated into a strengthening circuit type class or even a specific core strengthening class.
At all the golf tournaments we see on TV, the top players are surrounded by a team of fitness trainers, physiotherapists and sports masseurs – all helping to maintain and improve the points made above, working to reduce the chance of injury, and in turn doing all they can to improve the player’s technique and golfing power!
For more advice on preventing golf related injuries, and if you require help to overcome an injury already sustained, please contact Central Physio here
Blog compiled by Kevin Huffington, Clinical Director at Central Health. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevHuffington