Golf and Low Back Pain

golf and low back pain

Golf is an excellent form of low impact exercise, especially if a golfer walks the field instead of riding on a cart. Exercising using golf promotes blood flow, which in turn helps keep a back healthy. However, constant twisting and force inherent in the golf swing leaves the lower back susceptible to pain.

Low Back Pain in Golfers

It is not a surprise that low back pain is a very common musculoskeletal complaint among golfers. Golf is an explosive sport with tremendous club head speeds that can stress the body in numerous ways. The golf swing causes a lot of stress on the lumbar spine. As you age, your spine’s mobility and ability to absorb forces decrease, making you susceptible to injury.
The body is not designed to handle twisting or torquing action placed on the upper torso when a club is swung at a high rate of speed. Although the lumbar spine, which is found at the bottom of the vertebrae, can withstand some degree of twisting, it is not nearly as flexible as the vertebrae in your mid back.

How Golf Causes Low Back Pain

Technical flaws and physical imbalances contribute to the development of back pain in golfers. Unless both are addressed, golfers may continually cycle through periods of injury.

Golf swing is the most common cause of back pain. It exposes the spine to complex torsional, compressive, and shearing loads that increase a golfer’s risk of injury. Low back pain often results from a limited trunk rotation. Right-handed golfers, for instance, tend to get low back pain predominantly at the right side.

For example, when a golfer attempts to rotate into the backswing, to compensate for the rotational deficit to get the club head to the top of the backswing, they may begin to extend and side-flex through lumbar spine, adding stress across the facet joints and other structures.

From the extended and side-flexed position at the top of the backswing, the golfer then beings to flex and rotate while transitioning into the downswing. Repetition of this movement of the lumbar spine leads to biomechanical overload of the lower back.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

A significant difference can be made if you include a physiotherapist in a multidisciplinary coaching team. Including a physiotherapist for rehabilitation process helps maximise return to golf safely. A coaching team with physiotherapists with golf-specific understanding can complement a player’s development and longevity.

Your physiotherapist may recommend exercises to help lessen discomfort and keep you more functional so you can still enjoy golf.

Doing stretching exercises and keeping yourself flexible will be even more important to prevent further injury or muscle strain. Unable to maintain a stretching program on a daily basis will result to loss of flexibility and further low back pain.
30 to 40 minutes of low-impact exercises such as walking or stationary biking 3 times a week are both gentle on the back and are well tolerated for golfers with low back pain.

Core exercises are also recommended to strengthen your core muscles. Strong core muscles provide support to your back and lessen the risk of re-injury.

Your physiotherapist may also use manual therapy, education, and techniques such as heat, cold, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.

If you already have low back pain caused by golf, see a Perth physiotherapist near you. Don’t wait it out to reduce your pain. Manage your back pain the right way. Call us at 9444 8729 today!