The game of golf is not easy on the back. Between the repetitive twisting and bending motions required to hit the ball and the stress on your back from lugging around a heavy bag of clubs on the course, it’s no wonder that back pain is the most common golf injury. Casual golfers and pros alike are susceptible to back pain. Just look at superstar golfers like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who have both been sidelined by back injuries.
Prevention is the first line of defense against back injuries caused by golf. Follow these four tips to give yourself the best shot at avoiding back injuries.
- Warm-up. Get your muscles ready for the game by warming up before teeing off. Mix up a range of static and aerobic stretches to prep your muscles for a day of golf. Stretch your whole body to prevent back injury, not just the back muscles, because it’s all connected. For example, “tight” hamstrings can be detrimental to a golf swing, as well as back health. Tightness in the hamstrings places additional stress on the lower back, contributing to lower back fatigue, pain, and potentially injury.
- Perfect your swing. An easy, fluid swing won’t only improve your handicap, but can also prevent injuries to your back. If you’re a beginner, consider signing up for lessons while starting out to avoid developing harmful habits. Even if you’re a seasoned golfer, a golf pro can recommend slight modifications in posture to optimize your swing and prevent back injury.
- Balance your bag. Not everyone has the luxury of a caddy. Carrying your own golf bag is great for integrating additional exercise into the game, but not if it requires you to repeatedly bend over or carry the load unevenly. Opt for a bag with a built-in stand that keeps the bag upright when set on the ground, so you don’t have to repeatedly bend down to retrieve and return clubs. Also look for bags with dual straps that will evenly distribute the weight across your back, instead of weighing down on one shoulder. Another option is to use a bag that you can push or pull so you can eliminate the extra strain on the spine.
- Take it easy. If you’re feeling back pain, the next round can wait. Let your body heal by taking some time away from golf. Continue to stretch and do light aerobic exercise, like a 30 minute walk every other day, and consider over-the-counter pain medication to abate the pain in the meantime.
If your back pain lasts longer than two weeks, it’s time to consult a medical professional. Denver Back Pain Specialists’ team of physicians and physical therapists offer the most up-to-date treatment techniques to decrease pain and get you back out on the course. Call us at 303-327-5511 to schedule a consultation. We can also offer the services of Brent Crispin, PTA who is a TPI certified medical professional. Click the link below to learn more.