Hitting that perfect shot keeps golfers like me coming back for more. But did you know that during a golf swing, the lower back sustains a compressive force of about 1370 pounds for amateur golfers? That number increases to 1700 pounds if you are a professional. This explains why we can have a sore back after a game of golf.
When you swing a golf club, that incredible amount of force involves just one side of the body, which can place uneven pressure on the spine. Many golfers develop lower back issues from repeatedly swinging a golf club through 18 holes or at the driving range. Here’s a few tips to help you protect your spine while enjoying your sport.
- Warm up: When you warm up your muscles and joints, they are less prone to injury. Perform some light stretches and range of motion exercises for your spine, hip, and shoulders.
- Balance counts: Keeping your spine and hips properly balanced over your legs as you play a shot will help ensure there are no uneven forces compressing or pulling on the spine..
- djust your swing: Keep your spine erect when executing your golf swing. Try shortening your backswing to limit the twisting of the spine or stand closer to the ball so you aren’t bending forward too much..
- Condition your muscles: Your core muscles are key support to your spine. Work on strengthening the lower back muscles, your abdominals, and side abdominals..
- Rest and recover: Muscles and joints need rest after physical exertion to repair. Depending on the number of holes played and swings made, give your body adequate time to recover before your next game. Listen to your body and take a break when
Golf has taken off in popularity especially as people have sought outdoor activities. The National Golf Foundation reported 24.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2020, an increase of 500,000 over 2019. It is the largest net increase in 17 years.2 If you are new to the game or an old pro, these tips can help you protect your spine from injury while you enjoy your sport and chase that perfect shot.
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine
surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society