Golf
 
 

For the millions of people who have chronic, long-standing low back pain, golf can still be an enjoyable sport.  A little effort to prevent back injury and low back pain goes a long way.  .  When talking about prevention of low back pain for the sport of golf, there are four key areas: warm-up, swing, bio-mechanics, and carrying the golf bag.  Going directly to the first tee at 7:00am, pulling out the driver, and then proceeding to try to tear the cover off the ball is probably the surest way to sprain one’s back muscles, resulting in low back pain.  A thorough warm-up before starting to play golf is critical for the muscles to get ready for the round.  A couple of simple stretches for the shoulders, torso, hip, and hamstring areas are important to prevent injury.  Some stretches include: holding a golf club behind the neck and shoulders and then rotating the torso, pulling knees to chest, and putting your leg on the seat of your golf cart while bending forward for the hamstrings.  Gently swinging a golf club helps warm up the muscle groups and prepares them for the torque and twisting that a golf swing requires.  Another key area for prevention of back pain is the swing.  Practice swinging before playing golf.  Golfers should emphasize finding a smooth, rhythmic swing during your practice that will produce less stress and less low back pain.  Always trying to maintain good balance during your golf swing will help decrease stress off the low back area.  Bio-mechanics of the swing are important to reduce low back pain.  The force generated by a golf swing largely stresses the L5-S1 disc space because of the rotation that occurs at that level compared to the other levels of the low back.  Golfers need to concentrate on the flexibility in the hamstrings to allow more motion in the pelvis and help reduce stress to the L5-S1 disc space.  An easy and fluid golf swing is a must to avoid low back pain.  The last key in preventing low back pain in golf is carrying the golf bag.  Repeated bending over to pick up a golf bag can stress the low back and lead to muscle strain.  Using a golf bag that opens when the bag is set on the ground can eliminate the need to bend over.  If carrying your golf bag, it is advisable to use dual straps to evenly divide the weight across the back and reduce the chances of developing low back pain from an uneven load. 

 

We must have a regular routine of stretching and low-impact exercise to help maintain out ability to play golf.  Stretching and maintaining flexibility is important to individuals with low back pain in order to prevent further injury or muscle strain related to golf.  Individuals with chronic low back pain tend to lose flexibility which will lead to further low back pain.  Staying well-conditioned aerobically will also help lessen discomfort in the low back area and allow you to enjoy golf.  Low-impact aerobic conditioning, such as walking or stationary biking, are both gentle on the back and are usually well tolerated for golfers with low back pain.  This type of exercise should be done for 30-40 minutes at least three times weekly.

 

Most acute low back injuries that occur during a game of golf will get better over a couple of days to weeks.  Muscle strains are the most common injury from golf and usually occur from forceful golf swings or a sudden shift during a downswing.  For relief of the pain and to promote healing from golf-related injuries and low back pain, it is always advisable to rest for a day or two from the activity that promoted the pain, allowing the muscles to heal more quickly.  Do not try to continue playing through an episode of low back pain.  Continue to stretch and continuing a low-impact aerobic exercise program will help the healing process and allow you to slowly return to playing golf again.  Always remember to apply the prevention tips to help you stay healthy while playing.