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The most common complaint from golfers is their swing, closely followed by their backs. In fact, up to 34% of amateurs and 24% of professionals deal with lower back pain. This tells us that pain associated with the lower back has less to do with hitting too many golf balls, and more to do with how well you are moving. With a lot of moving parts in the golf swing having to work in synergy, it's no wonder. Here are a few things to look out for if your back is affecting your game.
The hips are meant to rotate during our golf swing, namely during our down swing and follow through. If the lead hip (left hip for a right handed golfer) is not rotating well due to being stiff or tight, then the lower back will compensate for this. Our lower back is not a great rotator, which can be a recipe for facet joint pain.
Like the hips, the upper back is meant to rotate even moreso. If the upper back is not rotating well, due to stiffness or tightness in the area then the lower back will compensate to achieve the necessary movement. Ideally the upper back should rotate 50 degrees in relation to the hips. Again, our lower back is not designed to rotate through large motions at speed so this can cause irritation to the joints and muscles.
Our core is the group of muscles in our midsection that keeps our lower back stable. During the golf swing, this demand is quite high. Our lower back should remain fairly stable, whilst the upper back and hips are mobile and generating force. A weak core will lead to unwanted lower back motion and stress, as well as an inconsistent shot.
Arching the back or rounding the back too much at the address can be another area to consider. Too much flexion (rounding) of our spine and the discs of our spine can become irritated, too much extension (arching) can cause the facet joints to get irritated if performed and loaded repetitively.
Too much side to side movement during the swing can lead to too much side bend in the spine at the point of impact. Over time this can again irritate the facet joints, as well as cause you to top the ball. A simple trick is to move your ball position forward a centimetre or two to discourage this movement.
- Jac Simmonds
Our advice is to check in with us, and we can look at all these areas as well as assess your swing and set up an ongoing plan. If you have been playing through pain, give us a call on 9971 8110 to sort out assessment and treatment.