Back Pain Keeping You from Your Golf Game?

01 April 2023Physical Therapy

Back pain keeping you from your golf game?

We all know golf is a sport of ups and downs, aches and pains, highs, and lows, and can be quite taxing on your body, but did you realize back pain is one of the most common injuries and ailments associated with golf?  

Don’t worry though, just because back pain with golf is common, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it, that you can’t help prevent it, or that you should give up golf to stay out of pain. There are tools to help keep you pain free, and the golf specialists at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint clinic are here to help .

There are a few key tips for prevention of back pain with golf that are a great place to start.

1. Good posture when golfing is foundational if you want to play golf for life without back pain. This means you have to understand how to have appropriate posture throughout the entire movement: from  your stance at your approach, through the back swing, and then during follow through. Engaging your core and diaphragmatic breathing are key in helping you control your posture and move through each phase of your golf swing. 

2. Thoracic, or mid back, mobility will help reduce back pain during your backswing and follow through. With appropriate mobility through your mid back you’ll be putting less stress on  your hips and low back therefore helping you to play golf pain free. A helpful exercise to increase your mid back mobility is what’s called an open book. 

3. Another game changer is flexibility in your hips. Flexibility in the hip joint means you need adequate internal rotation of the front leg and external rotation of the back leg. The ability to rotate in the hips is imperative for maintaining proper rotation of the body through impact rather than pushing your lower body and low back through the ball. This pushing of the low back and body can lead to pain during your swing.  

4. We mentioned flexibility in your hips going along way in reducing back pain with golf, but this hip flexibility must be accompanied by pelvis mobility. Your pelvis rotates with the swing, and if your pelvis is limited or you are unable to control pelvic movement, the ability to correctly rotate will also be inhibited. Control of your pelvic rotation and tilt are essential in maintaining proper core stability throughout the entirety of the golf swing, again reducing the opportunity for back pain to occur.

So what should a golfer do to improve posture, mid back mobility, hip flexibility and pelvic mobility?

First consult a medical professional  who specializes in golf movements, such as a TPI certified physical therapist. F.I.T.’s TPI certified professionals can provide specific tips based on your body and swing mechanics. They can help guide you through movements to reduce your chances of developing back pain or reducing the back pain you are experiencing with golf, as well as provide soft tissue therapies to help improve your musculoskeletal function. 

Second, perform the following exercises as demonstrated by our TPI certified physical therapist, regularly.  These exercises promote the necessary mobility and stability to help keep you pain free. Focusing on posture, hip mobility and core stability will put you on the path to decrease and prevent low back pain so you can continue to play golf for life. If you experience pain with these, stop immediately and give us a call. These should not be painful.

figure four stretch will help open up the hips, pelvic tilts will help with pelvic mobility and control, open book stretches improve mid back mobility, and glute bridges with leg extensions will help strengthen and stabilize hips. 

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