Golf and back pain don’t quite go together like bread and jam but back pain in golfers is common. One of the biggest reasons for back pain in golfers is an inability to generate sufficient force into the ground. In fact, it’s not just the ability to create this force but to maintain it through the swing that is the big factor.
Golf is a sport of extremes in terms of movement. There isn’t really another sport that requires you to maximise your rotation in the manner golf does. Any kinks or flaws will reduce your ability to rotate.
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As you seek to maximise the rotation in the upper body you’ll create slack elsewhere. At the start of the swing, you might feel really well connected to the ground. You feel you are really “pushing” into it then lose this as you tighten up.
What does this have to do with back pain?
The process of creating the downforce requires that the knees be bent and remain so through the swing. The start of the swing as you address the ball the position is the “athletic start” position you see in other sports. This is a power position that allows explosive movement in any direction.
The maintenance of the bend in the knee allows for effective force transfer up the posterior chain. Allowing good use to be made of the hips to deliver the big punch of power. Weightlifters or boxers for two different examples, in fact, the boxer throwing a hook has many similar characteristics to the golfer.
When this position is lost you start to see things go wrong. The hips sliding, back legs extending early and a loss of power generated from the hips. You also start to try to make up for this by attempting to create power from the torso. The torso is there to help create speed through the rotation but not power. Power is all from the lower body.
You also start to see a lot more stress placed on the lumbar and sacral area
When we are dealing with back pain this is one of the big things that we look to address in the clinic. We make it a priority to restore this ability to generate and maintain, the force into the ground. In doing so we ensure that the treatment process can be as successful as possible and reduce the chance of a reoccurrence.