By: Ron Strand
Many golfers experience back pain. The golf swing is an unnatural motion that can cause some unusual stresses. In some cases, golf does not necessarily cause the pain, but a golf swing can aggravate old injuries and escalate stiffness into painful spasms.
I have rarely made it through a season without experiencing at least one bout of back pain from golf. There have been times it has been so severe that I thought I may have to give up the sport. But over time, I have found a few things that help me golf pain free and, if I do experience some pain, speed recovery. Of course these tips are meant for people experiencing pain from the normal stresses and strains that come from participation in sport and are not meant for people who have injuries or are recovering from chronic conditions.
A couple of years ago I ran across a regimen developed by Dr. Chico Caldwell, a professor at the University of Iowa. This series of exercises was not developed for golf specifically, but is an overall strength and flexibility program. Even so, I have found it to be extremely beneficial for avoiding back pain by keeping abdomen and back muscles toned. The whole series of exercises takes about an hour. Twice a week seems to be enough frequency to maintain muscle tone. No equipment is necessary.
2. Pre-game Warm-up
I personally don't believe stretching cold muscles does much good. It is necessary to get cold muscles warmed up and the only way to do this is movement. Take a club and swing it like a baseball bat back and forth until you are puffing a bit, then take some easy practice swings, then go through your stretching routine.
3. Take It Easy on the Driving Range
I is always tempting to reach for the driver because you know that that all important drive on the first tee is coming up in a few minutes. But you will like do better if you warm up by hitting some easy shots with your six iron.
It may seem counter intuitive, but I have fewer problems with my back when I am walking the course than when I am using a cart. If you must use a cart, because of course or tournament rules, make sure you stretch when you get out and walk around as much as possible.
Very often I will not notice any pain during a game but will experience it the next day when I am riding my bike or working in the garden. Taking it easy between games will decrease onset of back pain. If you must do some lifting, use additional caution after a round of golf.
By paying attention to these things, you should be able to play without gulping handfuls of ibuprofen. But of course, this is just some common sense advice from one player to another and is not a substitute for professional help. If you do experience ongoing pain, consult a professional.
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Ron Strand is a college instructor, consultant and avid golfer.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
By: Ron Strand