Can Golf Lead To Lower Back Pain?

February 7, 2024
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Do you feel sore and achy after a day on the course?

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, golf could be to blame.

 

With more courses than any other state, it’s no wonder that—when it comes to golf—Florida is #1. But in addition to hosting multiple PGA Tour events (and countless 19th holes), Florida also boasts a lot of lower back pain from golf.

Lower back pain is an extremely common complaint, accounting for up to 50% of all golf injuries, and affects novices and professionals alike.

If you’ve found that your game is being handicapped by your lower back pain, there’s no need to give up your favorite sport. With the right care, you can reduce your risk of injury so you can keep playing golf as long as you want.

 

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What Causes Lower Back Pain During Golf?

Lower back pain is much more prevalent among golfers than many other types of injury (such as upper back pain and golfer’s elbow), but this isn’t simply due to your physical activity.

As many experts have pointed out, the real culprit is the modern golf swing.

Rather than allowing the shoulders and the hips to rotate equally, today’s golf swing relies on “shear force,” a twisting motion that offers plenty of power and speed, but takes a tremendous toll on the spine.

And because golf is an “asymmetrical” sport, this force is concentrated on one side of the body, increasing your chance of throwing out your back.

Furthermore, because people tend to think of golf as an activity rather than a true sport, they don’t always take the time to warm up or protect their body during play.

However, if you want to keep hitting the fairway long into retirement, taking care of your spine is important.

closeup of man stretching legs before a round of golf

How To Prevent Golf-Related Back Injuries

No one wants to miss out on their favorite sport due to lower back pain. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent back injuries when playing golf so you can spend more time on the course (and less time on the couch).

  • Stretching – Tight muscles are much more likely to tear. Taking time to stretch and warm up before a game helps to loosen and lengthen the muscles and prevent muscle strains.
  • Strengthen Your Core – Strong core muscles help protect your spine throughout the full range of motion when swinging a golf club. Incorporate a core strengthening routine into your fitness regimen.
  • Perfect Your Swing – Good form and posture are not only the key to improving your swing mechanics, they can take the strain off your back and keep you pain- (and injury-) free. If necessary, find a coach to help adjust your swing.
  • Reduce Practice Swings – Swinging 100 times before you take a shot might be a great idea for your score, but it can be killer on your spine. Reduce the number of those practice swings and see if your back pain doesn’t improve.
  • Pull Back On Long Shots – When taking a long shot—like tee-off, for example—it’s tempting to give it all you’ve got. But putting too much power into your swing will force your back to bear the brunt of the force. Instead, use 70% of your power.
  • Don’t Carry Your Clubs – By the time you fill them with clubs, balls, and other accessories, golf bags can weigh up to 50 pounds! Carrying that much weight around (on one shoulder!) can easily strain your back and make injury more likely. Instead, use a lightweight model, a bag with wheels, or leave it on your golf cart.
  • Play Less Frequently – This is not something that avid golfers like to hear, but playing 18 holes multiple times a week will eventually take a toll on your body. Try hitting the course once a week or playing nine holes instead.
  • Take Care Of Yourself – When your joints are off kilter, it doesn’t take much to throw things completely out of whack. Regular chiropractic adjustments prevent sports injuries by making sure your vertebrae and other joints are aligned.

woman sitting on bed and holding lower back in pain

Treating Lower Back Pain From Golf

Minor muscle strains can be treated with the classic combination of rest, cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain relievers. These types of injuries generally heal well on their own.

More serious issues—such as herniated discs—are often treated with physical therapy or even surgery. Tiger Woods, for example, has undergone multiple back surgeries, including three discectomies and a lumbar fusion.

chiropractor making adjustment to patient's lower back

Chiropractic Care For Golf Injuries

Fortunately, surgery isn’t necessary for most people. In fact, your chiropractor may be able to help!

By bringing your joints back to their proper alignment, chiropractic adjustments help ensure that your bones, muscles, and nerves are all in the correct position. And when performed regularly, chiropractic adjustments also ensure that your body stays in the proper position.

In addition to manual adjustments, chiropractors also offer medical massage and E-Stim therapy.

If you’re an avid golfer, tennis player, or any kind of athlete (amateur or pro), it’s best to look for a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine. Having an understanding of the forces that a body undergoes when playing sports is key to providing good quality medical care.

 

Conclusion

Don’t sacrifice your health for a lower score!

In fact, if you enjoy golf, taking precautions to protect your back will allow you to keep playing and avoid serious injury that may take you off the course.

At Oviedo Chiropractic, we’re not just experts in the musculoskeletal system, we’re avid golfers ourselves. If you’re looking for drug-free pain relief for your lower back pain, golf chiropractors Justin Cough and Erin Chu can help.

Schedule an appointment today to get started.

Justin Cough

Dr. Justin Cough, D.C.

Dr. Cough graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL after receiving his BS in Education from SUNY Oswego. Before becoming a chiropractor, he coached many middle and high school sports teams including football, lacrosse, basketball, and soccer. He is passionate about focusing on our bodies' natural healing mechanisms and helping his patients enjoy the utmost sustainability in their lives.

For some, chiropractic offers relief from pain. For others, it's about feeling and looking good. Call today and see what chiropractic can do for you!

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