Did you know that trunk rotation of the golf swing puts enormous pressure on your lower back? That’s why the back problems are the most common type of golf-related injuries.
Weekend golfers who have poor swing mechanics, lack of flexibility and core strength are more likely to get lower back pain. Golfers with poor swing mechanics tend to swing harder, causing larger spinal loads and increased muscle activity, resulting in more stress to the lumbar spine. Pro golfers who are physically fit and have good swing techniques are not immune to lower back problems either. Pro golfers tend to develop lower back pain from overuse due to repetitive one-sided movement.
Golfers who have degenerative disc disease or arthritis in the lumbar spine are more susceptible to overloading their spines. The discs lose their shock-absorbing capabilities, and loads are transferred to other structures within the spine that are unable to withstand these forces. A poor golf swing causes more shearing, compression and rotational forces on the low back. Can you believe that your body weight is forced through your spine eight times as you make contact with the ball? So, if poor mechanics are combined with a weak back, you are more likely to cause yourself a significant injury.
Poor posture is the most significant contributor to golfers’ lower back pain. Poor posture is caused often by muscle imbalances or visa versa. Poor posture and any amount of muscle imbalances cause biomechanical fault to your swing thus increasing risk of lower back injury. Golf swing requires that all elements of the posture have to be properly maintained throughout the swing. Golfers with a good posture swing better – and without back pain! Believe it or not, a proper posture has a positive influence on power production to your swing, too!
Many players with lower back pain are looking for an easy fix to treat their back pain. Some players are taking extra amount of painkillers before game while others try to get quick-fix with chiropractors. It’s true that these “treatment” might help reduce pain temporarily, but they rarely solve the underlying problem(s). If you lack flexibility on your shoulders, spine and hips, weak core muscles, poor posture and muscle imbalances, your back pain is not going anyway. Pain will persist until you decide to concentrate more in caring the cause of the pain, not only symptoms.
Pilates is a good exercise program for people with lower back pain, especially for golfers. Several studies have shown that golfers with low back pain have decreased trunk and hip strength, decreased hamstring flexibility, as well as trunk rotation to the right is also limited. Those are the main problem areas that we are focusing in Pilates – and much more. Pilates is all about body alignment, deep back and abdominal muscles strength, joint and spine mobility and stability, as well as soft tissue flexibility. A well-trained Pilates instructor can identify your musculoskeletal imbalances and provide personalized golf-specific Pilates exercises to improve your posture and overall conditioning specific to golf. Correct posture and good muscle balance will help you to get into proper positions which are required in effective golf swing. And the best part – they will lessen your lower back pain or even help you play pain-free!