Golf and Low Back Pain
An effortless golf swing requires adequate mobility in the neck, shoulders, wrists, thoracic spine, hips and ankles. Deficits in one area or poor swing mechanics can result in excess load being placed in a particular joint or area which can end in injury. The low back commonly absorbs excess load and as a result, golfers often come to the clinic with an issue in this area.
Golf is a safe activity, however due to the repetitive nature of the sport you can be susceptible to overload injuries or acute sprains and strains. This is particularly common in those who lack mobility, those who play multiple games per week and the higher handicap players.
Golf related injuries require a thorough assessment in order to diagnose the problem as well as to identify any contributing factors. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of moving parts to a golf swing and as such, we need acceptable mobility throughout the body in order to swing effectively. Identification of the contributing factors is crucial in treating the injury itself, as the problem may actually be restricted thoracic spine rotation but the symptom of the issue is low back pain. In this example, we can treat the low back all we like, but it won’t have any real effect unless we address the restricted thoracic rotation. We may be able to get it to feel better in the short term, but once you get back to golfing, the pain is likely to return.
Often, once you’ve been thoroughly assessed, addressing the mobility deficits can be relatively quick and easy which is good news as it means you’ll be back to swinging the golf club as soon as possible. As with any injury, we here at BeFit Training Physio like to keep you engaged in your regular activity as much as your injury will allow. Golfers are no different, so it is important to us that we develop a plan together in order for you to promptly return to the course.
If you are a golfer who is dealing with an injury, or you would like to improve your mobility and feel more comfortable and powerful in your swing, you may be interested in a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) physical assessment run by our resident TPI certified golf Physiotherapist Tom. This is a golf specific physical assessment which identifies any deficits in mobility or motor control which may be holding you back from a smooth, powerful and injury-free swing.