Many a golfer has dreamt of sinking that epic and elusive hole-in-one, but how likely is that to happen? According to liveabout.com, if you are a low-handicapper and play 1,000 rounds in your life (an average of 25 rounds for 40 years), you have a 20-percent chance of making at least one hole-in-one.
The truth is, the average golfer is more likely to suffer from back pain than to nail a hole-in-one. In fact, lower back pain (LBP) is known to be the most common golf-related injury – accounting for 18 to 54 percent of all such ailments.1 That means that golfers have to stay diligent and take the proper steps to avoid unwanted trips to the sidelines. Check out these 5 tips to avoid back pain and stay on the links for longer. After all, the more rounds you get in, the closer you get to that hole-in-one!
Golf is a noble and challenging pass-time – one that gathers people of all ages around the spirit of competition and camaraderie. It’s also a great source of low-impact exercise which can be enjoyed well into a golfer’s later years. Maintaining a regular fitness program including 30 to 45 minutes of low-impact exercise 3 to 4 times a week is highly recommended. These activities might include: walking, jogging, swimming, stationary biking and the like. If able, golfers should consider walking the course as opposed to traveling in a cart – this, on average, amounts to around 850 calories burned per 18 holes! 2 An active exercise regimen is only one piece of the overall puzzle, though; staying limber also helps!
Stretching & Flexibility
Range of motion is everything when it comes to maintaining a proper golf swing. However, individuals with chronic back pain often experience a loss of flexibility and decreased mobility. This can lead to a shortening of their back swing and a loss of torque. A simple but consistent stretching program, if followed routinely is known to help lessen back pain and prevent common aches from turning into chronic conditions. The benefits don’t stop there. In fact, yoga and other flexibility-focused exercises are perfect for improving balance, reducing stress and even enhancing your swing mechanics!
The modern golf swing puts tremendous force on the lumbar spine. This is because powerful rotation in the base and hips is required to drive the ball down the fairway. Nagging and persistent back pain often prevents golfers from fully extending their swing and thus, robs them of power and control. One recommendation for those with flexibility or range-of-motion issues is to adopt the classic golf swing. The classic swing, utilized by great players of a previous era such as Bobby Jones, incorporated a reduced magnitude of hip-shoulder separation angle which would decrease the torque and subsequent stress on the lumbar spine.3 Golfers with persistent back pain should consider retooling their swing to accommodate a limited range-of-motion without sacrificing power. Modifications typically comprise a relaxed posture, 31-inch back swings, increased hand action, and a shorter finish. 4
Cold & Heat Therapy
When it comes to recovery, controlling inflammation is key. Using cold and heat strategically can shorten recovery time, boost circulation and ease discomfort. For instance, the application of cold packs over an injured area can dramatically help numb the tissues and may relieve muscle spasms or associated inflammation. 5 On the flipside, heat is an effective tool for combating soreness and increasing blood flow. Heat application facilitates stretching the soft tissues around the spine, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. 6
Regardless of age or ability level, the goal is always to keep golfing. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to players experiencing LBP and other performance-reducing conditions. For example, adaptive clubs, grips and carts are but a few of the specialized products golfers with unique requirements can explore. One common challenge golfers with LBP and/or limited mobility often face is bending over. Whether it be picking up a ball or tee, bending at the waist is challenging, yet completely avoidable, for these individuals. This is thanks to the ergonomic design of the Upright Golf Claw. It easily attaches to the grip of most putters or golf clubs. As long as your grip has a small hole at the end, you can push this golf ball pickup tool in with no harm to your club. It’s very durable, so don’t worry about it breaking when picking up your golf ball and storing it in your pocket or bag. Eliminate bending and extend your game!