Low Back Pain…the CAUSE or the SOURCE?
Golfer’s low back pain can be extremely frustrating. In fact, it is the number one ailment seen amongst golfers, even at the professional level. With that said, not many realize that low back pain isn’t the cause, it is just a symptom of a deeper issue. Often, lack of mobility in other areas like our hips and middle back lead to the excessive load placed on the low back. While our low back structure and muscles are strong, they are not built for that load, and in turn, pain ensues.
How do I Prevent Low Back Pain?
To put it simply, hips are built for mobility and your low back is built for stability. When those roles reverse we experience low back pain. So, our goal becomes more focused on achieving normal movement in those areas. We need our hips to normalize their movement, which will allow our low backs to be the stabilizer that it was built to be.
How does this apply to Golfers?
The golf swing requires a substantial amount of rotation and mobility to get the power and energy we hope for. When our hips are not moving, our low backs become the point of rotation (and stability) for our swing, and this leads to pain in that area. This is where a proper hip warm-up prior to a round of golf can really help.
Warming up with hip exercises before a round of golf can really help the hips warm up and perform the way they were designed. There are several hip exercises you can do, but here is a focused look at 3 powerhouse moves that are easy to perform.
Bird Dog — the main focus is to have mobility through the hips while keeping a neutral and stable spine. In addition, you are engaging the core, which helps with maintaining that neutral spine and provides power during your drive and iron shots.
Posterior Hip Foam Roll — This is something that can be implemented into a daily routine, as well as prior to a round of golf. The focus here will be on the glutes and your external rotators of the hip. Foam rolling is simple and when done correctly can be a huge benefit. We encourage it 3-5 times a day, including prior to your round of golf, with about 10-20 rolls up and down for each session.
Band Exercise — This is something we utilize for many of our patients who come through as a good exercise prior an activity such as running, cycling, triathlon, weight lifting, tennis, soccer, etc. However, it can be just as helpful before a round of golf. One set of ten (1 x 10) of each exercise is plenty to get the hips fired up. In addition, this helps build strength, which will help with fatigue towards the end of a long round, or a long weekend of golf.
LATERAL BAND WALKS
We all have experienced low back pain and discomfort, we all know the effect it has on our golf game and our enjoyment of the game, now we understand the cause a little better. By implementing these simple exercises prior to a round of golf, as well as when needed in our daily life, it can help us both manage and prevent our low back pain. Lastly, making this a part of your routine can help you sustain a higher level of play out on the golf course.
Janaye Freeman is a Certified Athletic Trainer & Lead Therapy Technician at Revive Sport & Spine in Cottonwood Heights Utah. Revive Sport & Spine provides evidence-supported chiropractic care and conservative sports injury management for the Greater Salt Lake City Utah Valley.