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Relieve Back Pain and Get Back on the Golf Course

Male golf player teeing-off golf ball

According to, a recent study that took place over a two-year period discovered that as many as 60 percent of professional golfers and 40 percent of amateurs experienced either a traumatic or overuse injury, with low back pain reportedly the most common injury or complaint by both groups.

Back pain is not something that only afflicts older golfers. recently wrote that PGA Tour Golfer and 2010 Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler struggles with lower back pain at the young age of 24. He is said to be extremely athletic, and the exact cause of his pain is unknown. The magazine notes that most golfers who suffer from pain in the lumbar spine region may swing the golf club in an awkward manner or lack mobility in their hips and middle back region.

Unfortunately, back pain can turn a fun round of golf into an agonizing nightmare. According to Laser Spine Institute, swinging a club — which requires a quick, repetitive motion that involves a number of different muscle groups in the neck, back, arms, and legs — can place an immense strain on the body, particularly the upper and lower back muscles. Continuing to play despite the pain can worsen an injury or prevent it from healing.

By following these simple tips, you can help prevent back injuries, decrease or even eliminate pain, and improve your backswing all at the same time.

   Warming Up

Warming up is essential for enhancing performance as well as preventing injury. By participating in a low-intensity activity involving the upper and lower body muscles, such as taking some gentle swings, hitting a few chips, or performing golf specific drills, you can increase blood circulation and get it flowing to the important muscle groups.

It’s important to warm up the muscles that stabilize the hips as well as core muscles that help to stabilize the spine and trunk. Golf Digest Live, available through the Golf Logix app and compatible with the iPhone, Android and others, offers lots of golf tips and advice as well as warm-up drills. Laser Spine Institute also offers many useful spine exercises you can do on or off the course.

   Improving Mid-back Mobility

Fitness advisor to a number of PGA Tour players, Ben Shear, notes that improving mid-back and hip mobility helps relieve unnecessary torque placed onto the lower back. It’s important to focus on exercises that help to increase range of motion in the mid-back and hips. Shear says that even using good posture and rotating the trunk while sitting in a chair can help. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator as well as performing squats and lunges can do wonders for the hips.

   Stretching to Reduce Muscle Tension

Stretching during and after your round of golf can help to alleviate muscle tension that tends to build. Focus on stretches that target the hips, back, and shoulders. To stretch the hip, place one foot on the tire of a golf cart or a chair in a lunge position while keeping the other leg directly behind you. Reach overhead with your arms, feeling a stretch in the front of the hip. You can stretch your back by standing at the side of a golf cart or wall, lowering into the lunge position and reaching overhead to the opposite side of the back leg. You should feel the stretch down the side of your back and above the back of your leg.

To stretch the shoulders, attempt to pinch the shoulder blades together to maintain an upright posture and reach one arm up. Keep hold of a solid object while turning your chest in the opposite direction.

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