The weather is warming up and the PGA Championship is under way, and that means there’s no better time for amateur golfers in Minnesota to head to the links to play a round of their own. Golf can be a lot of things, and if you’re not careful, it can also be hard on your spine. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the ways golf can be hard on your spine, and what you can do to prevent problems so that you don’t need to visit a spine specialist because of golf-related back pain.
Your golf swing asks a lot of your spine and nearby supportive structures, so it’s not uncommon for something to go wrong or for an area to succumb to pressure or repetitive stress. Here’s a look at some ways you can work to prevent your golf game from causing problems for your spine.
1. Warm Up – Don’t just head to the first tee box and try to rip the ball 300 yards down the fairway after a couple of practice swings. Your body needs to prepare for the kind of torque you’re going to put on it, and you can’t do that with just one or two practice swings. Give yourself at least five minutes of stretching and simple activity to help your whole body get loose prior to teeing off. If you don’t, your first swing of the round could also end up being your last.
2. Stay In Control – It may seem appealing to try to crush the ball as far as you can, but if you’re over-swinging and trying to hit the ball as hard as you can, not only are you sacrificing accuracy, you’ll be putting extreme strain on your spine. Stay within yourself and be in control during your swing, otherwise it’s your spine that’s going to pay the price.
3. Bend With Your Knees – If you’re bending to read the green or pick your ball out of the cup, make sure you’re bending with your knees and not at the waist. Repetitive bending at the spinal level can speed up spinal degeneration and put you at a greater risk for a herniated disc. Use your knees, not your back, to bend when you’re on the golf course.
4. Exercise Off The Course – Make sure that golf isn’t your only form of exercise. To help protect your spine and to potentially take your golf game to the next level, consider adding some strength training exercises to your routine when you’re not on the course. Exercises that target your spine, shoulders and core muscles can help ensure your back can handle the stress you’re putting on it when you’re on the course.
5. See A Specialist – Finally, don’t be afraid to sync up with a medical or golf specialist if things don’t feel right with your swing or your spine. If you keep trying to push through discomfort, you’re risking a more severe injury. Stop if your swing becomes uncomfortable, and connect with a professional who can help get your swing or your body back to feeling normal so things don’t get worse.
If you need help with a back injury caused by your golf game, or if you want to put a pre-existing spine injury behind you so that you can enjoy a pain-free round of golf, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.