Playing golf is a fantastic form of exercise (especially if you forgo the golf cart) and is a natural stress reliever. However, golf is tough on the spine and leads to back disorders. Regular chiropractic care is not only proven to keep your spine aligned but research shows it can boost your golf performance.
75% of golfers in the PGA sing the praises of chiropractic care. Pro-golfer, Tiger Woods, has been an advocate for chiropractic care for years and we all know what an amazing athlete he has become.
“Being a Chiropractic patient has really helped me immensely…lifting weights and seeing a Chiropractor on a regular basis has made me a better golfer. I’ve been going to Chiropractors for as long as I can remember. It’s as important to my training as practicing my swing.”
It becomes obvious to nearly any sports enthusiast why the world’s greatest athletes choose to include chiropractic care as part of their lifestyle, or in conjunction with their sports athletic training. Chiropractic Works.
But you don’t have to be a pro golfer to benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractic care helps any athlete to restore function to spinal joints that are fixated and not moving properly. Muscles, joints and ligaments depend upon proper joint movement for peak performance. Injuries to these tissues can reduce range of motion, decrease blood supply and literally “take you out of the game”.
Aim for Perfect Posture
Proper posture on and off the course is essential to your health and for avoiding injuries. If your spine is out of alignment, then your swing will be out of alignment. Professional and amateur golfers seek regular chiropractic adjustments to avoid injuries and to maintain that perfect golf swing they have worked so hard to achieve. Optimal posture improves your ability to strike the ball more consistently by increasing the range of motion of your stroke, increasing your balance and improving your stability.
If you’re like 90% of the population, you suffer from forward head posture in your everyday life, not just on the golf course. With the vast majority of us spending hours slouched in front of our laptops, over our blackberries and behind the wheel driving, the incidence of this condition has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.
As a golfer with forward head posture attempts to get into an optimal golf stance, he/she may attempt to pull back the shoulders and head, but find it virtually impossible to fully straighten up. The rounding of the shoulders and the head coming forward of the center of gravity shifts the body’s balance. Without that balance and stability, stroke power, as well as stroke accuracy and speed, are highly compromised.
Bulging Spinal Disc
Countless golfers across the country are finding themselves suffering with the same ailment that sidelined the world’s top player: a bulging spinal disc. While the pain associated with a bulging disc may be dull with numbness and tingling. Numbness and tingling are decreased or abnormal sensations caused by altered sensory nerve function. The feeling of having a foot “fall asleep” is a familiar one. – as a chiropractic physician I recommend seeking treatment immediately before compensated movement patterns affect the spinal tissue and lead to more severe disc problems, which may involve more pain and longer recovery times.
For golfers, a bulging disc may occur in response to the chronic repetitive stress and acute trauma caused by the repeated swing of a club. When injured, the discs, which are cushions between the spinal bones, can push out towards the spinal cord spinal cord and nerve roots often causing numbness in the arms and legs, stiffness in the neck, or difficulty walking.
Warm Up and Stretch Before Tee Off
No matter what sport or physical activity you are about to take part in, it is essential to warm up and stretch those muscles in your neck, back, legs and arms. As a doctor of chiropractor that is certified in sports medicine, I can create a tailored exercise program which outlines a routine for you to follow both on and of the golf course.
“Few amateur players adequately warm up before practicing or playing a round of golf. If you don’t stretch prior to golfing, you are asking your body to play golf with an added handicap. Muscles that are warm and stretched properly prior to teeing off are supple and loose, which enables your body to perform to its full potential.” (PGA Tour Golf Academy Student Instruction Manual)
Forgo the Cart but Watch out for the Weight of Your Golf Bag
In additional to that golf swing tweaking your back over and over, the weight of your golf bag, not to mention a mix of 14 irons and woods, golf balls and assorted accessories is enough to cause serious injury. Invest in a hand-pull bag cart instead of carrying your bag to each hole on the course. At the very least, carry it on a different shoulder from time to time.
As I mentioned earlier, forgo the cart. Choose to walk the course which in turn increases your stamina and boosts immunity: maximizing athletic performance and warding off injury.
Golf = Low-back Injuries
Low-back injuries are especially common among golfers. Golf generates low back pain and aggravates low back muscles because of poor mechanics and that repetitive golf swing. “Stiff hip and back muscles are often the root causes of flawed mechanics. Also, older golfers may have back conditions that the swing aggravates: The disks between the spinal vertebrae get less elastic with years and, therefore, are less able to distribute the stresses that the swing puts on the back.” (Harvard Health Letter 2000;25)
Don’t reach for the pain pills for a quick fix to alleviate pain. This only masks the pain and creates a false sense of relief conning your body into thinking it can do more which can potentially lead to further, more serious injury. As a doctor of chiropractic with a certification in sports medicine, I am trained to restore alignment and motion to your spine with chiropractic adjustments. And remember, chiropractic relieves low back pain quickly, but the long term fix takes a much more active role on the part of your golf swing.