Golfing is an excellent sport that combines valuable cardiovascular activity with the calming effects of fresh air in the outdoors. It is a healthy way to unwind and relieve stress while getting some good exercise, but the swinging and twisting actions of driving the club can often result in back pain. At the Los Angeles spine surgery center, we talk to many athletes and golfers who suffer from back and neck pain and offer a few guidelines to follow before hitting the course, which can help prevent spinal injury and pain altogether.

Getting Tips from a Pro

Most golf courses and country clubs have a resident golf pro, and it’s a great idea (especially for beginners) to get lessons before playing regularly. It is important to develop a proper fluid swing before heading for the golf course. An experienced golfer can teach good techniques for swinging and the proper stance to help avoid undue strain on the back. The pro can also help older golfers adapt as their bodies change and can also point out poor habits in established players.

Warming Up Before Play

Warming up before play is an excellent way to avoid straining the back. Rapid twisting during a swing often burdens the spine. Stretching the torso and shoulders by gripping the club with both hands and twisting helps to warm up the back and neck muscles. Alternating each leg and pulling the knees up to the abdomen as far as is comfortable is another great way to stretch the hips. Toe touches can also warm up the hamstrings.

Holding the Bag

Carrying a bag with dual straps that allows both shoulders to share the load is preferable to a single strap design. Bags that stand upright on their own when placed on the ground are preferable to those that lay on the ground as bending over to pick up a heavy bag full of clubs is burdensome to the lower back.

If you suffer from severe back pain that cannot be alleviated through conservative methods, but are hesitant about surgery because you are unsure of your ability to return to golf, know there are many options available to today’s golf enthusiasts. Along with traditional spinal fusions, lumbar artificial disc replacement is an emerging surgical option that focuses specifically preserving as much mobility as possible, allowing active adults to return to active lifestyles following surgery.

Don’t let back pain stop you from doing the things you love. Contact The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Located in Santa Monica, we serve the Beverly Hills and Greater Los Angeles area and can help you return to the green, pain-free. Call us at (310) 828-7757 to request more information or to schedule an in-person consultation with one of our board-eligible or board-certified spinal surgeons.