Low back pain is the most common complaint of the more than 17 million golfers in the United States. In this issue you will learn about the incredible forces placed on the low back during a golf swing. I will also talk about the importance of maintaining proper balance in the muscular skeletal system so that the body can better accommodate those forces.
It has been found that compressive loads of up to 1,704 lbs. of force are placed on the low back during a typical golf swing. In comparison a division 1-A college lineman creates a force of 1,951 lbs. of force in the low back when hitting a blocking sled. The most common cause of disc herniation in a healthy low back is bending combined with compression and twisting, all of which are signiﬁcant components of the golf swing.
Because of the incredibly high forces created on the low back in golfers, it is essential to have a strategy to reduce these stresses as much as possible. Your musculoskeletal system uses individual parts working together in order to create purposeful movement. The individual parts include muscles, joints, and other soft tissues which are intimately connected throughout the body. It has been found that golfers with low back pain have predictable imbalances in the body. This means there are common areas of excessive tension, and other areas of instability. These imbalances combined with the repetitive forces create excessive wear and tear on the spine.
Helpful hints to minimize wear and tear on your spine:
1. Warm up before teeing off. To many golfers want to stretch before playing. It is much more beneficial to warm up (increase your heart rate to get the blood flowing to all of your muscles) before teeing off. It is OK to do a few light stretches but muscles will be more functional and you will have less chance of injury by warming up first.
2. Stretching out. Leave the stretching for after the game. You may have a few beers in you by this time. Now that your nice and relaxed anyway take 10 min to stretch key areas. I strongly recommend seeing a specialist to help point out your imbalances so that you are doing the right stretches for you. It is a good idea to stretch everyday. Remember, just don’t spend to much time stretching before the game.
3. Work on core stability. There are key core muscles responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and low back. It is imperative that these muscles are not forgotten. For more information on core stability visit core stability.
4. Visit your chiropractor, and if you don’t have one consider it. Not only will a chiropractor be able to help you keep your spine and pelvis aligned properly. They will also be able to point out key areas of imbalance on you and show you the exact stretches and exercises you need.