Playing Golf with Low Back Pain
Golf may still be a fun pastime for millions of individuals who suffer from chronic low back pain. Using the proper equipment, as well as a regular regimen of stretching and low-impact exercise, will go a long way toward preserving one’s ability to play golf.
Use a Golf Cart
Many golfers continue to play as they age, and the majority hope to be able to play in their retirement years. Unfortunately, some older people acquire problems like spinal stenosis or degenerative spondylolisthesis, making it impossible for them to walk long distances on the golf course.
Using a golf cart instead of walking on the golf course is a viable option. Biking or swimming treatment may be tolerated better than walking for maintaining aerobic fitness in those with spinal stenosis or degenerative spondylolisthesis.
Wear Supportive Footwear
Back discomfort may be caused or exacerbated by ill-fitting shoes. High-quality golf shoes promote spinal alignment and upright posture, enabling players to remain comfortable during the game and lengthy walks on the course.
The perfect golf shoes, spikes or no spikes, will:
- Absorb impact from the forces created by the golf swing
- A good fit will help to stabilize the feet.
- Weight should be distributed evenly around the sole.
- Maintain your grip
- Be light and adaptable.
- Have a supporting and long-lasting raised arch, particularly if you have flat feet.
- Have bespoke shoe inserts or orthotics made.
Learn How Foot Orthotics Can Help With Low Back Pain.
Foot orthotics provide efficient injury protection, however shock-absorbing insoles have not been demonstrated to be useful.
1 To strengthen the arch and surrounding muscles, add foot exercises to your stretching and exercise routine.
Read more: How to ship golf clubs?
Modify the Golf Swing
A good golf swing should be smooth, fluid, and rhythmic. Understanding the biomechanics of the swing might help you avoid back issues like muscular strains. In the case of an injured or aged player, a golf swing modification may be required.
All four components of the golf swing2 may be modified:
The backswing, or takeaway
When the club begins to move, the erector spinae and abdominal oblique muscles on the left side are recruited, assuming the golfer is right-handed. At the beginning of the swing:
- Get closer to the ball.
- To assist lessen the pressure on the back, keep the backswing short.3
- Rather of maintaining the head stationary, rotate it slightly so that the nose aligns with the right foot.
To avoid shoulder muscular pain, switching to a short backswing will need training or practice. Improved shot accuracy is an extra advantage of this adjustment.
The forward swing, or downswing
The gluteus maximus and hamstrings on the dominant side are more engaged when the club begins to come down. During a downturn:
- To prevent standing erect as the club advances, rotate from side to side.
- Avoid transferring weight too quickly into the front leg.
- Maintain a tucked-in pelvis, glutes pulled back, and chest down.
- Maintain a bent back leg.
While these features of the downswing enhance rotation, it is critical to avoid rotating the body beyond its range of motion.
The acceleration with ball strike, or ball contact
The hamstrings and gluteus maximus are most engaged on the lead leg as the downswing draws to a close, whereas the abdominal oblique muscle is most engaged on the dominant side. Following ball impact:
- Avoid excessive upper-body rotation.
- Shift the weight onto the front leg by maintaining it held in place as the rear leg rotates and contacts the forward leg.
- Tilt the rear foot onto the toes and raise the toes off the ground into the follow-through if feasible.
This swing alteration will need practice and should be introduced gradually, at a slower rate of rotation, before growing acclimated to it.
Following ball contact, the hamstrings are the most active muscles on the lead side, while the gluteus medius and abdominal oblique are the most active on the rear side. When the dominant arm is parallel to the ground, it is easier to:
- Turn your head and body forward to face the ball.
- Keep the follow-up brief.
- Instead of a deep tilt, finish with the club at a modest angle over the shoulder.
This change reduces the spine bend when the swing comes to a conclusion, relieving the stress on the lower back.
Golfing After Spine Surgery
According to research, spinal surgery does not signal the end of golf. Within a year after having lumbar fusion surgery4:
- 77% of golfers could play as much or more as they did before surgery.
- Compared to 79% of golfers before surgery, 29% still felt constrained in their ability to play golf.
While returning to golf is well within reach, enough recuperation time is required. While recovery durations vary depending on the patient’s health, the surgeon’s surgical method, and the success of the operation, the following are basic parameters for suggested recovery times:5
- 1 to 2 months after lumbar laminectomy or microdiscectomy
- 2–3 months after anterior cervical fusion
- 6 months after lumbar fusion