*Editor’s note: Today’s post was written by Melissa Boger, ATC, CSCS, NASM-PES/CES.
When I am working with golfers, the number one complaint that I hear is low back pain (LBP) while golfing. Many golfers think that LBP is something that they just have to live with or play through. The good news is that LBP during golf can be prevented or significantly reduced by taking some simple steps to help your body move in a healthier more efficient way. LBP can be caused by a number of different reasons ranging from muscle weakness to muscle inflexibility to poor golf posture, but no matter what the reason is, most LBP during golf can be treated by improving on 3 major components: Mobility, Stability and Strength.
Mobility, or the ability of our bodies to move efficiently through a range of motion, is extremely important in all facets of life. Specifically in golf, having good rotational mobility is the key to an efficient golf swing and helping to prevent LBP while golfing. Having good mobility throughout your entire body is important, but when it comes to preventing LBP while golfing there are three areas to focus on.
Here are some exercises geared to help increase mobility in the above areas:
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Stability, or the ability of our bodies to stabilize one segment so the other segments above or below can move properly, is also extremely important for a healthy lifestyle. Specifically in golf, having good core stability is essential to a powerful swing and preventing LBP while golfing. When referring to core stability, we are talking about the area that encompasses the deeper abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, and low back muscles. Different from strength, stability requires a person to recruit and engage the core muscles to keep the spine and pelvis stable during the golf swing. Stability is also important in allowing you to maintain a neutral pelvis while taking your golf stance. Not having a neutral pelvis is another common reason for LBP while golfing.
Here are some exercises that will help improve core stability:
Lying on your side, place your elbow under your shoulder and your forearm flat on the mat. Lift your body off the ground keeping your core braced and stable and support yourself with just your forearms and the side of your foot. Make sure your hip is not sagging and your core is braced throughout the exercise.
Strength is the final key component to preventing LBP while golfing. The body can be both mobile and stable, but if it lacks the strength required to make it through 18 holes of golf, stability will break down leading to LBP or other overuse injuries.
Here are some exercises that will help improve strength to prevent LBP:
Not all exercises are suited for everyone, and there is a risk of injury with any activity. Please be mindful of your safety and well-being when performing these exercises. To learn more about an injury you are experiencing, AthletiCo offers complimentary injury screenings at all locations, or visit our Golf Performance Center for our golf-specific services.