Regardless of age or skill level, most golfers report some degree of lower back pain after each round, according to one study involving feedback from more than 30,000 players. And with such beautiful weather in Southern California and premier golf courses, it’s no surprise that a number of our patients either play or would like to return to golf at some point. It’s important for golfers to know what may cause spinal discomfort when golfing so that more intensive treatments such as spine surgery can be avoided.
The most notable reason for back pain in golfers is the added stress on muscles, tendons, joints and bones supporting the spine caused by the motions associated with each backswing and follow-through. While all golf-related back pain probably can’t be avoided, there are some golfing techniques that may help reduce spinal discomfort the next time you tee off.
- Making Movements More Natural – The purpose of a golf swing is to transfer energy from your body to the club and, in turn, to the ball. Ideally, the motion required to generate that energy should come from parts of the body meant to rotate (hips and the thoracic spine) rather than spinal joints (facets) that aren’t designed to naturally rotate. By making a conscious effort to focus on natural movements, also paying attention to ankle and shoulder movements, lower back pain can be minimized.
- Setting the Trail Hip Higher Than the Lead Hip – Golfers tend follow an S-shaped movement pattern that puts added pressure on the spine. One way to ease this pressure is to position the trail hip higher than the lead hip to create a level pelvis to tilt the spine towards the desired target.
- Forcing a Forward Ball Position – Exaggerating a forward ball position shifts weight forward during the downswing. The shifting of the weight forward reduces right side bend associated with the impact of the swing.
- Eliminating the Sway – Even experienced golfers tend to move away from the target during the backswing. While it may take some practice, eliminating this movement (sway) can prevent excessive extension of the spine.
Other golfing tips from our spinal specialists and board-certified physicians include:
- Do warm-up swings prior to getting out on the course
- Practice proper posture and balance while making swings
- Use a golf bag with dual straps to even the load
- Bend at the knees when picking up a golf ball
The above tips, along with therapy and medications can help to reduce pain in the spine. However, there will be certain instances when more advanced treatments such as spine surgery will be required, most notably in the case of disc herniations.
For more information about your particular source of pain, call 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae. Along with minimally invasive treatments, Dr. Bae specializes in motion-preserving spine treatments in Los Angeles, meaning patients will have the opportunity to maintain as much range of motion as possible. Reach out to us today and start on the path toward a pain-free lifestyle.