The golf swing doesn't have to cause low back pain.
- 53% of male golfers suffer low back pain.
- 45% of female golfers suffer low back pain.
- 33% of golfers are over 50, not always in top condition.
- 30% of professional golfers play injured.
Golf is a contact sport. The club hits the ball, sand, grass, even a root now and then. The body's many joints make contact throughout the golf swing. The golf swing engages a range of independent body movements, so it's usually only a matter of time before every golfer with unbalanced muscles will experience an acute injury or chronic back pain. Every golfer has unbalanced muscles, just because he lives and works in our sedentary world.
It's crunch time when a high-velocity rotating stroke occurs at the same time that the trunk bends, giving the spine and muscles around it a beating. It's little wonder that low back pain is the most common pain complaint among golfers.
Most injuries to male golfers start in the low back. Injuries to female golfers often begin in the upper back and move quickly down. Amateurs are typically injured due to improper swing mechanics. Professionals develop overuse injuries as they obsessively practice repeated strokes.
In order to hit the ball a great distance, the body must have the ability to rotate into a wide arc and to maintain it throughout the swing. Any increase in hip rotation will reduce shoulder turn, lessening the amount of trunk forward and side bending during the downswing. Without full hip rotation, back pain will be a constant companion. With unbalanced muscles, full rotation of the hips is impossible.
There are usually two issues causing a golfer's back pain, muscle imbalances and joint dysfunction. A distinct pattern of muscle imbalance will develop as a result of a prolonged inactive posture. When a muscle remains in a shortened or contracted state for an extended period of time, it produces a reflex weakening of muscles on the opposite side of the body.
This lower body combination of weak, overactive, or tight muscles is called lower crossed syndrome and it will produce an inevitable low back movement pattern that will lead to injury. If your therapist or orthopedist doesn't know what lower crossed syndrome is and what muscles and joints are involved, walk out the door. Find one who does. This information is too basic to be left out of any professional diagnosis!