Low Back Pain and Golf

Are you a golfer who has, or have had low back pain and just chalked it up as a normal consequence of being an avid golfer? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not normal, and there are reasons and solutions for your pain. A golfer with sound technique, proper core stability, muscular balance, and good awareness of how to perform basic activities of daily living rarely will succumb to the effects of low back pain. So let’s discuss what causes low back pain in the golfer and what to do to combat this golfing epidemic.

When comparing golf injuries to amateurs vs. golf professionals, the number of injuries to the low back differs between the two groups. Of all golfing injuries sustained by professionals, 25% of those injuries are to the low back, amateurs however injury their back at a rate of 36%.(1) If you consider how many swings a pro takes vs. the average amateur player in the course of a year this statistic becomes even more intriguing. This indicates that proper technique and training can decrease the rate of low back pain. (1) Metz, J. Physician and Sports Medicine, July 1999, Vol. 27, No.7.

Pain is our body’s “Check Engine” light and it goes off when we have an injury or if body parts are being stressed too much. Many of us are forced to sit a fair amount of the day due to driving, work, etc. This increases the amount of stiffness in our hips and causes poor posture in our upper and mid back. These muscle imbalances are amplified when we do something more challenging, like golf or other recreational activities. Golf requires mobility from our neck to our ankles and if one area becomes overly stiff then an adjacent area will be forced to compensate. More times then not, low back pain is the result of it compensating too much.

Even though golf is a rotational sport, our low back is not designed to rotate, however, our hips and our mid back are designed for rotation. Our core helps support our low back as well as generates power for the golf swing. The muscle imbalances mentioned earlier will cause to core to be inadequate for golf or even everyday stresses. To determine if you lacking the proper core stability or muscular balance necessary to play pain free golf, contact your local golf fitness doctor who can perform a series of functional tests specific to this issue.

So, instead of allowing your low back pain to continue, I suggest you determine why your “Check Engine Light” is on and consult a golf pro and golf doctor to formulate a plan to decrease your pain and increase your ability to golf longer and pain free. Feel free to contact In Motion Spine and Joint Center at 615-302-4747 or at www.imsjc.com.