While you can get plenty of beneficial exercise from walking the green as you work your way through a round of golf, you may also find yourself experiencing unexpected back pain. Low back pain is especially prevalent among golfers because the posture required to go for a hole-in-one can lead to muscle strain and affect structures within the spine. If golf is one of your preferred sports, Los Angeles spine surgery experts explain how you can prevent back pain the next time you tee off.
1. Do Proper Stretches
Prepare your spine and its supporting muscles for golfing by stretching before a game or taking some practice swings on the driving range. Focus on muscles in your torso, neck, shoulders, and hips. Stretching warms up the muscles and reduces the risk of experiencing a strain when you swing. Further prepare your muscles for a round of golf by practicing with smaller irons so you can focus more on proper technique and stretching. Stretches that can help maintain your spinal alignment and flexibility include:
- Hamstring stretches
- Knee pulls to the chest
- Side-to-side torso rotations
- Quad stretches for both legs
2. Bend at Your Knees
Gaining greater control over your swing can also increase your precision since you’ll likely be swinging without distracting pain. Work on your balance by bending at your knees with your feet shoulder-width apart. Avoid leaning forward excessively as you bend to retain your spine’s alignment as much as possible. Doing so can also reduce your odds of experiencing pain from a herniated or slipped disc, especially around the L5-S1 disc space (lumbosacral joint) where the joints allow for most of your rotations while swinging.
3. Don’t Over-Swing
Over-swinging can stretch muscles near the spine beyond their normal limit or injure tissues around joints in the upper spine. Instead, be mindful of your posture and stick with a swing style that feels comfortable for you and your spine. If golf is a fairly new passion, it may take time to develop your own natural swing. Over-swinging can also be avoided by:
- Partnering with an experienced golfer to learn effective swing techniques
- Scheduling time to practice your swinging motions
- Taking official golf lessons to learn how to swing without injuring your spine
If you need another incentive to pay attention to your spine as you golf, consider the fact that back pain can have an impact on your game. Muscles supporting your neck, shoulders, and spine need to work together to successfully swing a golf club and direct the ball where it needs to go. Taking steps to prevent back pain may make it easier for you to assume correct positions and improve your game. See a board-certified back doctor in Los Angeles for back pain that suddenly appears or becomes more distracting.
Whether your back pain is caused by golf or another source, surgery is sometimes necessary to alleviate severe chronic pain. At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, we specialize in a variety of fusion procedures and spinal fusion alternatives. Los Angeles golfers seeking relief from their back pain should get in touch with The Spine Institute today. Call 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation.