As golf’s popularity surges, the median age of golfers hitting green are people mid-50s. For golfers in that age bracket and above, age-related wear within the spine will only increase with each passing year.
That said, it’s becoming more important for not just senior golfers, but all players, to maintain the health of their back and spine. Those days walking along asymmetrical courses and swinging clubs using repetitive motions that, if are incorrect, could lead back and spine pain or exasperate current symptoms.
Thankfully, we know the leading causes of golf-related lower back pain. Below are a few ways to prevent back and spine pain and discomfort when playing golf.
Stretch your back before playing
Spend 15-20 minutes stretching the primary muscle groups used on the golf course. These are your upper back muscles, your shoulders, your lower back muscles and core, your forearms, your hip flexors, your hamstrings, and your quadriceps. Stretching ahead of time warms up the muscles and decreases the change of injury while playing.
Make core exercises a habit
Since lower back pain is the most common form, dedicate time each day to work on strengthening your core. Four exercises to add to your fitness regimen for improved core strength (and an improved golf swing) are:
- Russian Twists
- Bird Dogs
- Side Planks
- Elevated Glute Bridge
- In and Outs
More hips, less back
Twisting the back and cranking up the arms (baseball swinging) is a swing mechanics error befalling many inexperienced golfers. These players try to power the ball across the fairway using the muscles in the lower back and shoulders to drive the ball as far as possible. The power is in hips to drive a good golf swing. Have a golf pro or other advanced golfers look at your swing if you feel pain in your back after teeing off. This slight change will not only prevent potential back pain but unnecessary twisting of the lower back.
Maintain good posture
That leads us to posture. Correct posture places the center of your upper spine, both knees, and the balls of your feet in alignment (knees should be slightly bent). If your stance is correct, your buttocks will stick out slightly (much the same as when performing squats). From here, let your shoulders produce the power of your backswing while keeping your spine straight to produce long drives.
Stretch your back after playing and between rounds of golf
After a morning, afternoon, or full day of playing golf, be sure to spend 15-20 minutes stretching your back again. Throughout the day, be sure to hydrate your body since drinking water speeds up muscle recovery time and eliminates the soreness you’d feel otherwise. Stretches can be like the ones previously mentioned or can be gentle yoga poses. Doing yoga increases flexibility, which helps improve the consistency, power, and accuracy of your swing. It also maintains your core strength and stability. Taking this time to reset your posture after a day of bending at the course helps your muscles to relax. The following poses are good stretches for your upper and lower back and core muscles.
- Cow face Arm
- Downward Dog
- Reverse Tabletop
- Supine Twist
- Child’s pose
A day on the golf course can be a fun time. Making sure you take care of your back before, during, and after play will make each visit to the course that much more enjoyable (and less painful). Use these tips to make sure your back feels as good as a hole in one, and not painful like a double bogey.