Spoiler alert! Playing golf may lead to low back pain.

Players who experience frequent or recurring bouts of low back pain can be frustrated because the pain interferes with their enjoyment of the game.

“Lower back pain is by far the most common ailment suffered by golfers of all ages. Based on data collected at TPI from over 31,000 golfers, 28.1% of all players deal with lower back pain after every round. Lower back pain is also the most common complaint seen amongst professional golfers on all tours (data suggest over 23% play with lower back pain). “ – Tue Aug 19, 2014 by Dr. Greg Rose

Some questions you have may include…
Why does my lower back hurt from playing golf?
How can I avoid injuries to my low back so I can play 18 holes pain-free?
What do I do if I’ve injured my low back?

Glad you asked! I’ll address those inquiries shortly, but first I have a question for you. Did you know that most causes of low back pain don’t originate in the lower back? That’s right!

So why does your low back hurt from playing golf?

Well, many times it’s a lack of proper mobility in other areas of the body that cause the low back to pick up the slack (that’s a fact Jack!) Two examples are the hips and thoracic spine. When the overworked lower back has finally had enough, it will usually lead to a variety of conditions which may include muscle strains, arthritis, and disc injuries.

TPI’s philosophy is as follows: “We don’t believe there is one way to swing a golf club. We believe there are an infinite number of ways to swing a golf club. But we do believe there is one efficient way for all golfers to swing a club and it is based on what they can physically do.”

Playing golf is certainly not ballet or gymnastics. You can score really well and look pretty ugly doing it. If your plan is to play for a long time AND to play pain free for a long time, well that’s where efficiency comes in. Scoring well is another story.. A different TPI pro will have to help you with those four foot knee knockers!

We perform a 16 point physical screen to assess strength, mobility, and functional movement patterns specific to your golf swing. Any assessments that don’t score well are most likely the culprits regarding any swing faults that you may have.

As part of the TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Physical Screen, the Pelvic Rotation Test and The Torso Rotation Test can help identify dysfunctions that may lead to overloading of the lumbar spine.

A TPI study involving over 19,000 amateur golfers revealed that nearly half of all respondents reported some sort of pelvic mobility issues and over 60% reported torso stability issues.

How can you avoid injuries to the low back so you can play 18 holes pain free?

First, identify any faulty movement restrictions and correct them. Optimally the hips and thoracic spine should be handling the bulk of rotation in the golf swing. Make sure they’re moving as designed.

Have a TPI Golf Pro assess and correct your swing mechanics.

Take the time to warm up properly before hitting the range or the course.

Implement a strength and mobility program. Ideally with a TPI Fitness Professional.

What should you do if you’ve injured your lower back?

First, get out of pain of course! You know that. It’s not why you’re reading this article. You want to know why it happened, how to fix it and to take the steps necessary so that it doesn’t come back. That’s where a TPI Medical professional comes in.

At Dynamic Health and Performance we use a combination of the basic TPI assessment screen and the SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) in order to make a true diagnosis. First we alleviate your pain and then (providing a specialist referral is not required) we form a plan of attack to address the dysfunctions and mobility restrictions identified.

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