The Southeastern Spine Institute

Golf is enjoying a spike in popularity. Whether due to baby boomers with more time on their hands or to millennials exploring the sport, golf continues to grow. If you’re an avid golfer, you may experience back pain at some point, regardless of your age. You can still enjoy the game; just realize that golf and your back pain are linked.

Golfers experience back pain on a routine basis. You shouldn’t. Take the time to perfect your form and posture to reduce your risks. If you continue to experience pain, consult your doctor. Consider hiring a golf coach too, because a fresh set of eyes may be able to help with your game, as well as with your back problems.

Golf and Your Back
For better or for worse, golf and your back are a team. Getting under par isn’t as simple as hitting the ball as hard as you can with every swing. In fact, you may have already learned that painful lesson early on in your golf career. Poor form quickly leads to back pain.

Your hobby is linked to your health. Common concerns, when it comes to golf, typically involve your back, elbows or wrists in some form or fashion. But whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you should realize that your swing and follow-through rely on your back muscles.

Is Anything Bad Even Happening?

Think about your swing when you drive and putt. Having poor body mechanics prevents your body from performing at its peak. Your hips, back and neck must all be in alignment. Poor form means your body has to work harder. If your swing isn’t smooth, golf and your back pain will become partners for life.

In fact, you can actually do some serious damage. When it comes to your backswing, for example, you need to dip your left (or inside) shoulder. By lowering your left shoulder, you put all of the twist on the part of your spine that can handle that rotating motion. Keep the movement away from your lower back.

Think of your backswing for a moment. If you don’t dip your shoulder, your lower back has to swivel with the force of your swing. But it isn’t built for that kind of motion. So, by having improper form, all the rotation ends up focused in your lower back. No wonder lower back pain is so common among golfers.

A Happy Medium Between Golf and Your Back

You can still play golf and have a healthy back. Just remember to treat golf like every other sport. Before getting to the tee, you need to warm up. Try out some basic stretches specifically for your back. Then, start with some easy swings. It isn’t good for your body when you tee up to hit the hardest drive of your life.

While you play, pay attention to your pain. Don’t “just power through it.” Focus on your form. If you warm up, take lessons from a pro and still encounter back pain, leave the links and call your spine doctor to find out if you’ve done permanent damage. Get treatment early so that you can make it all the way back to the back nine sooner rather than later.