All of us that have played sports in the past or present time, we all know that each and every sport has its own unique demand on the body. Each and every sport has it’s own unique injuries that arise from playing either in excess or as a weekend warrior. Golf is not the exception here. I usually get a good amount of golf players that come into the office complaining of their low back pain or discomforts and how they can not play at the top level they should be playing because of their low back limitations. Here in this blog I will be going over some of the common symptoms that arise from these golf players, what’s causing them and how to help alleviate if now correct the issue.
One common symptom that most golf player complain about besides the low back pain is the stiffness and tightness of there low back muscles as well. The low back pain arises from the muscle imbalance. Most people have low back muscle imbalance but this is more prominent in golf players. The reason for this is because when a golf player is swinging the golf club, he or she is trying to keep their hips balanced tightly under them as they swing from there upper body only. As the swing proceeds into its final stride and the player has swung the club onto his left shoulder, this is where most of the muscles imbalances start to occur and develop over time. Just being in this position you will feel the strain of left leg muscles (which is the weight bearing leg after the swing) firing and tightening up just to hold the hip balanced and to keep it from rolling forward and/or laterally. After repeated use the muscles contract and without stretching they get shorter and shorter, until you need them to stretch and elongate. When these muscles can not stretch and elongate as you would need them to do so they start to tear and injuries start to occur.
So a great set of stretches for golf players are to stretch the Quadratus lumborum bilaterally. Try to find out which side is the tightest, usually there is a visible imbalance where one side is bigger and tighter than the other side which is the weaker side. In some situation the tight (muscle) side of the spine is pulling the vertebra’s to that same side, pinching on the nerves. So a muscle rehabilitation will be needed in this situation, where we stretch and relax the tight side and work and strengthen the weak side. Another muscle group to stretch is the Psoas muscle. These muscles are hip flexors that usually get over worked with golf players. These muscles stretches along with adjustments of the hips and the low back spine will also help with the balancing of the hip, spine and muscles. Not only will the spine, hips and the surrounding muscles be balanced but they will also be relaxed, loose and ready to stretch whenever you need them to do so.
I hope this blog will give you an idea of what to do and what not to do when you are experiencing low back pain/discomfort. If you have any questions feel free to contact me and I will be glad to give any further information.
Dr. Paul Villanueva