Back Pain Exercises for Golfers
The most common injury a golfer experiences is back pain, especially pains in the lower back. This is caused by the constant pressures and forces on the body systems from swinging the club and twisting of the body during the golf round.
This consistent swinging of the golf club causes the muscles in the body to move more often which can lead to inflammations, back strains and sprains.
As a golfer, this pain restrains you from playing golf regularly and effectively as you would want to. Even though most of the back injuries sustained from playing golf would get better over a short period, it is important to know the ways to relieve this pain and help prevent future pain.
This article aims to help you navigate dealing with back pain and the exercises that help you strengthen your back muscles to prevent injury.
There are several causes of back pain not limited to only golf players. It is important to note that every human being will most likely experience back pain through the span of their lives.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states that 75 to 85 percent of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime. Of those, 50 percent will have more than one episode within a year.
Back pain can be caused by muscle strains from excessive weight lifting during exercises, stretching beyond the body’s limit, overuse of the back muscle when working out, an uncomfortable sleep position and carrying heavy backpacks.
Resource: Golf Fitness Training Program
Helpful Back Muscle Stretches Before a Golf Round
These pre-round stretches help you with flexibility which is very necessary for a smooth golf game. These are helpful stretches to do before you participate in a golf game.
Hang your golf club from your shoulder and keep it in place with your hands, with your legs spread wide and firm on the ground. Twist the body to the right, going from the upper to the lower body. Repeat the process on the left hand. Twist your body as if you were taking a swing on the golf course.
Spread your legs apart and take a firm stance. Keeping your golf club in both hands, drive your body forward and your hands backwards to achieve the same position. Then, return to the lifting position with your hands. Be sure to breathe while repeating the pose many times.
Bent Arm Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch
Stand straight with your feet apart. Then, lift your hands above your head and lean to the left, being careful not to step forward. Rep on the other side. Repeat this stretch a few times.
Standing Side Stretch
Stand up straight when holding your golf club. Then, cross your left leg over your right leg, with your right hand extended out, as though to touch the golf club in your left hand, but lifting it slightly above the club. Tilt your right hip forward to stretch your muscles.
Resource: Check out our golf practice plans
Golf Exercises at Home to Strengthen the Back Muscles
To do this exercise, lie down flat on your exercise mat, your upper body facing the sky. Bring up your knees to your chest, keeping your spine firmly on the ground. Then lift your hands till your elbow is above your shoulder.
Repeat with the other leg and hand from this position. Lower your right leg and hand to the ground, with the left side still in starting position.
Dead Bug helps you with your core strength and increases coordination.
Lie down on the ground with your hands stretched out and suspending you in the air. Your body fully stretched and the tip of your toes holding your leg ups. This is similar to a planking position.
To start, pull your elbow to the ground and lift yourself back up. Repeat this with your toes still firmly placed on the ground.
Push up increases your strength and builds stability.
To perform this exercise, you will need a pull-up bar. Hold firmly to the bar, with your legs stretched and knees held together, pull yourself up with your arms and upper back. Repeat this as many times as you can.
Pull Up works to strengthen your back muscles.
Go down on the ground on all fours. Then raise your left leg and stretch out your right arm at the same time, holding them for a few seconds. Do the same with your right leg and left arm.
Bird Dog strengthens your spine and lower back muscle.
Lie down on the ground with your hands stretched out and suspending you in the air. Your body fully stretched and the tip of your toes holding your leg ups. Stay in the same position for as long as you can.
Planking reduces back pain and improves your posture
Causes of Back Pain for Golfers
Here are the most common causes of back pain with golfers:
Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of back pain. This can be due to heavy lifting like lifting heavy items at home or weight lifting. It can also result from overuse of the muscles, during sporting activities like golf.
When you play golf without proper stretching first, you increase the chance of pulling a muscle and straining your back from the forces in the powerful golf swing.
This is a body disorder that affects only the joints. It is a common condition that introduces pain and inflames the joint. This inflammation causes you to suffer from back pains and stiffness.
It is important to highlight that arthritis affects people of all ages, so it is not reserved for elderly people as the popular notion states.
This can result from either poor sleeping posture or poor sitting structure. When you maintain a bad sleeping and sitting posture over a long period, it can affect your spine which causes pain in your lower back.
Golfer’s Guide to Relieve Back Pain
Having a good posture can help relieve back pains. Try to rectify your standing, sleeping and sitting posture. Stop slouching when you are sitting, stand with your shoulder leaning in, head up and straight and your legs firmly positioned on the ground.
For your sleeping position, you have to start intentionally by choosing a good sleep position when conscious. This could then influence how you are positioned throughout your rest.
There are some types of exercise specifically targeted at alleviating pains in your back. Stretches that help to free the muscles from tension and relieve pains. There are some yoga poses that also work for releasing tension from the back muscles.
A lot of core exercises will benefit your back as the core takes pressure off the back muscles, helping you learn to use your core rather than back.
Over the Counter Medication
You can get effective pain medications. These are medications sold over the counter following a prescription from your doctor. These medications can help in relieving mild pain in your back.
The most common types of over the counter medications are:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Prescription Pain Relievers
When experiencing these pains in your back, you need to inform your doctor. They will have a better understanding of the situation and know the best medication to prescribe.
Sometimes, your doctor might prescribe physical therapy depending on the severity and cause of the pain.
Physical therapy can be recommended to help you work on your core. This would help you build strength and endurance.
In physical therapy, the therapist teaches you the proper way to stand, sit and move to ease off unnecessary stress on your spinal cord. With the therapy, you build the strength of the muscles around your back.
A back massage can help to relax your muscles and reduce pain.
According to Spine-Health, massage therapy can provide substantial healing and pain relief for many lower back problems. Specifically, for pain caused by a back strain, when the correct muscle is targeted, the pain can be controlled at its source—for quicker and lasting relief.
Massage can be a temporary fix for your back pain issues as a golfer, especially when performed by a professional.
Overall take these tips and back exercises and apply them to helping you prevent back injury playing golf or to help relieve tight back muscles from the golf swing prior to playing your round of golf as well as post-round.