Pain and discomfort in the lower back is one of the most frequent complaints among patients. Additionally lower back pain is one of the most costly health problems from diagnosis to treatment in the United States. Between prescription drugs, physical therapy and visits to a chiropractor and expensive diagnostic equipment, lower back pain and discomfort costs millions of dollars each year.
One reason back pain is one of the most expensive medical problems around is mistreatment. Many patients must endure costly diagnosis and long term pain management without ever finding out the true source of their pain. The ‘hit or miss’ nature of back pain treatment is why many experts suggest tailoring the treatment plan to the patient rather than the affected area.
More physicians are finding success with patients suffering from back pain by using range of motion as a metric in addition to clinical assessments that diagnose back pain and discomfort.
Golf & Lower Back Pain
Of course there are many other daily activities that can lead to a lower back injury, but many of those are also present in the game of golf. A back injury simply means that one has put more stress on the vertebrae or lumbar muscles than the body can handle. This stress can occur in a variety of ways.
First there’s improper bending to place the golf ball on the tee. This repeated motion causes back pain similar to improperly lifting because the source of this pain is using the lower back to bend rather than the thigh and calf muscles. Using an improper technique to do this over 18 holes, two or three times each week can certainly do damage to the lower back over time.
The other producer of lower back pain is a poor swing. When you swing a golf club you are putting more than eight times your body weight through the spine, and when you don’t have a solid swing or good sequence, this is the equivalent of wildly swinging extreme weight. This places an inordinate amount of stress and pressure on the lower back.
Traditional Back Pain Treatments
One of the most effective treatments for lower back pain is exercise. For many people this means basic aerobic and resistance exercises complete with warm up and cool down stretches. Exercise is doubly beneficial because it strengthens the lower back muscles to make them less susceptible to future injury, and it gets the blood circulating to the lower back to relieve pain and discomfort.
Specifically, exercise can be an effective preventative measure to avoid lower back pain altogether. If you enjoy a physically active life chances are slim that you’ll experience the same back pain after a few hours of golf than someone who gets little to no activity on a daily basis. Sitting too long causes muscles become tense, causing a muscle imbalance. The rotary and bending movements of golf are more than an unfit body can handle. Make a specific effort to work out the abdominals to avoid injury through the golf swing.
In an effort to treat the patient rather than the injury many physical therapists are designing exercise programs that include other activities such as swimming or yoga and even Pilates.
There is a unique physical therapy plan that some medical experts have been working on to provide a custom therapy geared toward golf players, who are athletes most inclined to lower back problems. Whether you are Tiger Woods or just a recreational golfer, lumbar pain is commonplace. In fact golf is kind of a recipe for lower back disaster as it involved repetitive motions that often lead to injury, swinging, twisting and bending the lower back area over and over again.
When the sedentary lifestyle of most golfers is factored into the equation, you can see exactly why golf leads to so much lower back discomfort.
Physical therapy exercises customized to relieve golf related back pain can help correct poor posture, which can improve a golf swing. By targeting muscle imbalances, which are inevitable for those who are overweight and leading relatively sedentary lives. These golf-specific exercises can alleviate back pain while also improving the golf game.
If you play plenty of golf and want to avoid lower back discomfort or pain, consider these tips:
- Find a physical therapist specializing in exercises and conditioning to help soothe and prevent golf injuries.
- Practice your golf swing, focusing on posture and form to avoid injury.
- Sign up for golf lessons to become a more effective golfer.
- Get regular exercise and stretching each day to keep muscles warm and ready to go.
- Get fitted for the right golf clubs.