Four Tips for Golfing After Ruptured Disc Treatment

If you’re an avid golfer who recently completed ruptured disc treatment, you’re probably looking forward to getting back out on a golf course. This is understandable and may even be recommended. In fact, physical activity is a common component of any treatment plan for a ruptured disc. That’s because exercise is an effective way to stabilize and strengthen the lower back muscles, which can prevent further pain and injuries. Strong muscles are better able to support your body weight and can take unnecessary pressure off your spine.

Why is golf potentially problematic?

There’s no doubt that golf can be an excellent form of exercise and aid in your recovery process. But, before you grab your clubs and jump into a golf cart, you’ll want to take some factors into consideration. Golf is a sport that can potentially strain your neck or back, so you’ll need to be careful not to overdo it and negate the effects of your successful ruptured disc treatment.

Because golf involves a number of repetitive body positions and movements, it can result in excessive wear and tear on the neck and back. For instance, constant twisting, awkward balance requirements and unnatural spine angles combined with the sheer force of a typical golf swing can potentially wreak havoc on your spine following ruptured disc treatment.

Five tips to keep in mind

If your physician has cleared you for golf following your ruptured disc treatment, you can learn to transfer some of the stress of your swing from your spine to areas of your body that are better suited to handle it. Here are four tips to keep in mind before you hit the links:

  1. On your backswing, you can protect your spine by keeping your right knee bent and turning your left shoulder downward. This will help keep your pelvis level and reduce stress on your back. It will also allow your thoracic spine (mid-back) to handle the twisting motion instead of your lumbar spine (lower back), which is not designed to rotate in this manner.
  2. On your downswing, move into a squat position using your powerful thigh muscles (quadriceps). If you don’t squat, you might naturally turn your hips without moving your pelvis forward, which will force your spine to power your swing instead of your thighs. Then, as your club swings downward, the stress on your spine will increase.
  3. On impact, most of your body weight should be centered over your left leg, and your shoulders and hips should be level and turning open. If there is a significant amount of weight on your right side, this means you’ve used your lumbar spine to rotate your body. To avoid spinal stress, allow your hips and pelvis to do most of the rotational work instead.
  4. As you complete your swing, don’t try to maintain your posture – this will shift a significant weight load to your lower back. Instead, thrust your pelvis toward your target, allowing your core muscles to absorb the stress, then push forward and stand up straight.

For more information

If you’d like to speak with us about your recovery from ruptured disc treatment and its possible effect on your golf game, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can also provide information about our minimally invasive, outpatient surgery for ruptured disc treatment and help you determine if you are a candidate.