Golf is a sport which seems to increase in popularity every year. The general perception of the sport is that it’s relatively easy on the body. There’s none of the impact involved in so many other sports. There’s no need to run anywhere. It seems reasonably safe, right?
But golf can be tough on your spine. Just look at golf icon, Tiger Woods and the struggles he’s had with his spine. It’s a year after he underwent spinal fusion therapy and he’s back with his form returning apace. Right now, he’s favored to win the Masters, which he hasn’t played since 2015.
Tiger’s struggles could be yours if you’re not vigilant about your spine. But you can spring back to golf without injuring your spine. Here’s what you need to know.
Golf sneaks up on you
The allure of smacking balls down a green in a bucolic, natural setting draws many people out of their winter lairs in the spring. But if you’ve been inactive over the winter, you need to take special care.
Golf demands a lot more of your spine than many believe.
Combined with the unnatural stance required by the game, the twisting movements needed to hit the ball in the prescribed manner can be tough on ligaments, muscles, and bones – especially in the spine.
Inexperienced golfers, or those who’ve sat the winter out on the couch, are going to feel it after they’ve gone the Full Monty and played their first 18 holes of the season.
You need to be ready to golf because it’s not as easy as it looks. The technique, conditioning and warming up prior to attempting a game should all be on the menu to avoid injuring your spine.
Preparation is key
As anxious as you may be to get out on the links, golf requires as much preparation as any other sport. You need to ensure that your body is ready to perform the movements required and that they won’t come as a shock to a body that’s been sedentary over the winter.
So, your first move is to get yourself in shape. Your second? Get some coaching. A coach can tell you if your form is putting you at risk for a spine or back injury and correct it.
Prepare your body with specific stretches which address core muscle strength, the stability of the trunk and mobility in the hips. And don’t forget your cardiovascular capability. Build yourself up with cycling (even a stationary bike), swimming or brisk walking.
Poor mechanics in your swing can be the start of trouble, so make sure you seek out a coach who’s willing to work with you on correcting it. If you’ve been injured golfing, then it doesn’t hurt to see your doctor and ensure that you’ve healed sufficiently to get back out there.
And whatever you do, warm up thoroughly before picking up that club, paying special attention to your shoulders, neck, and arms.
If you’ve hurt your back golfing, come see us. We’ll get you back out there!