Golf itself isn’t all that great for the back, especially if you have a swing that puts a lot of pressure on your spine or throws your posture out of whack. If one of your goals is to get back on the green following spinal surgery, however, there are ways you can safely do so while minimizing the risk of re-injury.
First things first, get the “okay” from your board-certified spine surgeon in Santa Monica. Before you make your way to the course for a post-surgery round of golf, take some time to prepare your back by:
• Taking an OTC pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol • Wearing a back brace for added spine support, which also limits your motions • Performing light stretching exercises to warm up back muscles
Even if you’re on par with Tiger Woods, get in some practice before going through a full round of golf. If you’re prone to taking swings that put a lot of stress on your spine, revert to the “natural swing” by:
• Aligning the shaft and right forearm (eliminates the need to rotate your body) • Assuming a wide stance (eliminates the need for excessive rotation during the act of striking the ball) • Freeing the ball at impact (knees, hips and shoulders face the ball to prevent excessive pressure on the spine)
Realize that your first game post-surgery may not be your best, so there’s no shame in being cautious. As long as you maintain a stable stance and modify your swing for optimal comfort, you should enjoy a pain-free game. Although you may want to avoid:
• Climbing in and out of sand traps • Swinging from hills or other uneven surfaces • Keeping your weight to one side of your body while swinging
Pay attention to sudden weakness in your hips and thighs, as this may be a sign of muscle strain originating from your spine. Consider opting for a nine-hole course before returning to a full 18-hole game. Over time, you can increase your swing and switch back to heavier irons as your spine heals and becomes reconditioned to golf movements.
If you think golf might be the source of your back pain, call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757. In addition to non-surgical treatment options, we specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery in Santa Monica so active adults can resume their normal activities with less down time and less discomfort. Schedule an in-person consultation today.