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Prevention of Low Back Injuries in Golfers | Atlanta Ga | Gainesville Ga

October 10, 2010

This article discusses how and why golf injuries occur, what you can do to help yourself prevent injury, and perhaps even give you some tips on improving your game.

Golf injuries

It’s not difficult to understand why golfers incur back injuries. Most golfers are weekend warriors, they are not in prime condition like the pros. Weekend golfers have weak and underdeveloped core muscles. As you know, golf is a game of repetitive motions. It requires a repetitive, one-sided torquing of the spine. This is hard on the body and the problem is compounded in amateurs, because they notoriously use poor swing mechanics that cause great loads of stress on the low back.

Imagine going to the gym and working only one side of your body everyday for years and neglecting the opposite side. Golf tends to create this same type of imbalance. Many golfers contract their bodies into oddly twisted postures, and combine this motion with a bent-over stance, which they repeat 100 times during a time period of three or four hours. Needless to say, these golfers set themselves up for some type of injury.


How injuries occur

To make a proper swing, you need unrestricted joint motion in the spine and pelvis. If your joint motion is restricted, you will be unable to make a complete weight shift during the backswing.

Think of your body as a machine that stores and uses energy. In physics, angular momentum can only exist through fixed axis rotation. Your axis is your spine.

It is around the spine that your arms, hands, and golf club rotate. As the spine turns, the body creates a centrifugal motion for the club to follow. To allow this to happen, it is imperative to have a healthy, freely moveable spine, as well as proper muscle balance around the spine.

To understand this better, imagine a spinning top. The top can move very fast if the axis remains constant. The top will not spin for any length of time, however, if the axis is not stable. Bump the axis, and the top falls over.

The body works best when the spine is in a neutral, athletic, and balanced position.  In biomechanics, there is a term called hysteresis. It means if you repeatedly stretch a ligament or spinal-disc material to its limit, it will begin to deform and, eventually, start to tear.

If the body is not in the correct position to swing, hysteresis is much more likely to occur. You cannot optimize your performance if you have posture problems, flexibility issues, or muscle groups not performing correctly.

If you have a bone not in the correct position, you have instability in the lumbar spine, which leads to a mechanical, as well as a neurological, deficit. The brain does not like the spine to be unstable, and it will protect the spinal column at all costs. It protects it by stabilizing it.

This is how it works: Every time you make a movement, the brain and motor system attempts to stabilize the spine by contracting the innermost core muscles.


Preventing golf injuries

Good golf posture requires the secondary curves in the cervical and lumbar spine to be in lordosis — that is, to be somewhat swaybacked. This posture provides mechanical leverage for strength and facilitates your ability to rotate.

If you have a collapse of the secondary curves, you get restricted spinal rotation. Then you tend to over swing, and over swinging leads to soft-tissue injuries.

A flexible body is a golfer’s best friend. Warm up before you tee off.  Warming up — stretching and making gentle swings to both sides of the body— allows muscles to function better and move over a greater range. Increasing your flexibility reduces chances of injury.


How can chiropractic help your golf game?

As an athlete — even a weekend golfer — you know the benefit of getting into shape. Regular exercise and stretching will help improve your game. Professional golfers use chiropractic care on a regular basis.  They understand chiropractic can help improve their game by helping them improve their golf swing and helping them stay in the game instead of the trainer’s room.

Even if you are not in pain from a golf injury, you can benefit from chiropractic care, which improves posture, increases and improves flexibility, restores proper nerve function, and increases secondary curves to improve rotation.

Many people are bad about going to the doctor. They wait until they hurt, and then go to get out of pain. This is not the best way to take care of yourself. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, keep your body right.



For more information, Dr. Guevara can be reached at (678) 223 – 3900 or through Facebook: Woodstock Chiropractor

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