Golfing and back pain seem to go hand in hand. Most golfers eventually experience back pain in one form or another; some reports indicate that as many as 80 percent of amateur golfers injure their backs at some point. Yet, many continue to play despite their pain, worsening their conditions.
Few golfers want to lose their favorite pastime to a back injury. However, the pain caused by ruptured discs, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis and sciatica can turn the act of swinging a golf club into a study in agony. By taking some simple lifestyle precautions, you can continue to enjoy golfing and help prevent becoming one of the thousands of golfers who experience back pain.
What causes back pain while playing golf?
Swinging a golf club requires a smooth, repetitive motion involving many different muscle groups in your neck, back, arms and legs. The motion must be performed extremely fast in order to be effective. This fast, repetitive motion can do a real number on your upper and lower back muscles in particular, which may not be strong enough to handle the strain put on them.
Golfers tend to be very dedicated to their sport, which is another contributing factor to the prevalence of back pain in people who play golf. Excessive playing, especially for beginners, can lead to overuse injuries. While anyone who experiences back pain from any activity should stop and rest immediately, many avid golfers refuse to stop playing when injured. Continuing to play in pain can prevent an injury from healing and can even make it worse.
Tips to avoid golf back pain
- Start slow – If you are new to golf or haven’t played in awhile, don’t overdo it. Start with short practice sessions on the driving range before tackling the whole course.
- Condition your body – Conditioning exercises that strengthen your core (the muscles in your back, abdomen, pelvis and buttocks) can go a long way toward preventing injuries. Try to focus on exercises that incorporate rotation to prepare your body for the torque experienced while swinging a golf club.
- Stretch – Golf requires a precise balance of strength and flexibility. Incorporating stretching into your conditioning routine will help your muscles remain supple. Stretching during and after your golf game also can alleviate building muscle tension.
- Rest – This is an important part of keeping a healthy back that many golfers ignore. Swinging a golf club is not a movement that is natural to your body. Therefore, if you continue to play day after day, you are forcing your body to endure strain that it wasn’t designed to handle. Give yourself some time to recover between rounds. Most importantly, if you do feel back pain, stop playing until you can talk to your physician and rule out a serious injury.
Golf is a favorite hobby for millions of people. Don’t lose out due to painful spinal conditions like bone spurs or herniated discs. If back pain is keeping you off the green, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can help you find relief from back pain.