Fore! How to Avoid Back Pain from Your Golf Swing

Kevin Freedman, MD November 19th, 2018

The Experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Explain How Golfers Can Avoid Back Pain

Golf doesn’t typically come to mind when considering risky athletic activities.

And yet, orthopaedic injuries caused by golf are common. According to golf injury statistics, approximately 15 - 20% of golfers experience injuries of some kind each year. Of the injuries typically experienced by golf athletes, back pain from golf swing is the most common by far. In fact, back pain from playing golf accounts for 20% of all reported injuries among golfers.

While back pain may be common, it’s far from unavoidable. Golfers can effectively mitigate the risk of golf back injuries by implementing simple precautionary measures. As specialists in Sports Medicine, the physicians at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute are committed to promoting preventive health among athletes of all kinds. The following tips for avoiding back pain from your golf swing compiled by the back experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can help to ensure that you have a healthy and successful golf season.

Back Pain from Golf Swing: Three Prevention Tips

Whether you are a professional golfer or a casual player, injuries to the back (in particular, the lower back) and subsequent pain are a very real risk. Before picking up that club, consider the following three simple preventative measures that you can take to prevent back pain from your golf swing.

  1. Use Proper Swing Technique
    Among professional golfers who are experiencing back pain, a musculoskeletal issue is usually responsible. Among amateurs and casual players, however, the cause of back pain is often incorrect swing technique. To protect your back, maintain a bent right knee and turn your left shoulder downwards on the backswing; squat your lower body slightly during the downswing; shift the vast majority of your weight to your left leg with your shoulder and hips level and turned open upon impact; and thrust your pelvis toward the target during the finish. To be safe, get an expert’s opinion on your form.

  2. Warm Up Prior To Activity
    Sports injury surveys have shown that golf athletes who warm up prior to activity experience less than half the number of injuries as those who did not. Warming up increases and improves flexibility, which reduces limitations on the player’s range of motion. Stiff muscles and ligaments are far more prone to injury, so it is important to implement warm-up exercises that loosen the back and prepare yourself for golf swing motions.

  3. Implement Back Strength-Building Exercises
    Poor muscles strength in the lower back can often result in strains, due to the intense pressure that golf swings place upon these muscles. Incorporating strength-building exercises that target the muscles of the lower back can effectively mitigate injuries. Rowing exercises (pulling rubber tubing attached to a shoulder height object toward your chest) and pull down exercises (kneeling and holding rubber tubing that is attached to a shoulder height object over your head, then pulling down toward your chest with bent elbows) are recommended.

As in all sports, avoiding overuse and excessive repetitive motions and activities is also critical.

Orthopaedic injuries caused by golf are certainly not limited to back pain from golf swing. Golfers may experience injuries to the shoulders, arms, knees, or feet; golfer’s elbow is among the most common golf-related injuries, and plantar fasciitis is likewise frequently experienced. Whatever type of injury you are suffering from, the Sports Medicine specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can provide you with the effective, targeted treatments you need to make a full, successful recovery.

To learn more about treatments for back pain from golf swing or to schedule an appointment at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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