Back Pain is the Most Common Golf Injury
80 percent of injuries suffered through golfing are back related. This is most likely due to the repetitive nature of golf. When a golfer swings repetitively, they are making themselves more likely to experience muscle strains.
Why Tiger Woods Uses Chiropractic Care
Tiger Woods is an amazing golfer with natural abilities and skills. However, even with his natural high level of skill, he relies on chiropractic care to keep him in good golf shape. He considers regular adjustments essential to his game, saying, “I’ve been going to a chiropractor for as long as I can remember, it is as important as the practice of my swing.” Woods is not the only pro-golfer that relies on regular chiropractic care either.
Here are 10 handy tips from the chiropractor to stay in shape on the course:
1. Adjust your swing
The entire body is used to execute a golf swing in a complex and coordinated movement. When this movement is repeated frequently, significant stress is placed on the same muscles, tendons and joints. Over time, this can result in injury.
Understanding the mechanics behind your golf swing can help you prevent golf injuries. Try to:
- Use proper posture. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rotated slightly outward, and with your knees slightly bent. Hold your spine relatively straight; your trunk should be tilted forward, but most of that movement should come from your hips. Avoid hunching over the ball, which may contribute to neck and back strain.
- Stay smooth. The power of a golf swing comes from force transferred smoothly through all the muscle groups, from your ankles to your wrists. If you depend on one part of your body for your hitting power, you may be more prone to injuries. For example, overemphasizing your wrists during your swing can lead to golfer’s elbow — a strain of the muscles on the inside of the forearm.
- Don’t overswing. If you swing the club too hard or too fast, you may stress your joints. Relax and take a nice, easy swing at the ball. The best golfers have consistent — not necessarily fast — swing tempos.
If you want to reduce the risk of golf injuries, consider taking lessons. What you learn about your golf swing may even help your future scores.
2. Warm up. Before you practice your swing or play a round of golf, warm up for at least 10 minutes with a brisk walk or a set of jumping jacks. Stretch your hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders, spine and pelvis. Swing your golf club a few times, gradually increasing your range of motion.
3. Start slowly. You might start out by practicing your swing for hours, believing it’s helping your game. But if your body isn’t conditioned for the strain, repetitively practicing your golf swing may do more harm than good. Work up to your desired level of activity instead.
4. Strengthen your muscles. You don’t need bulging muscles to hit a long drive — but the stronger your muscles, the greater your club speed. Stronger muscles are also less prone to injury. For best results, do strength training exercises year-round.
5. Focus on flexibility. Regular stretching can improve your range of motion and lead to a more fluid golf swing.
6. Build up your endurance. Regular aerobic activity can give you staying power on the course. Try walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming.
7. Lift and carry clubs carefully. Golfers who carry their own bags have higher rates of shoulder and back injuries than do other golfers. If you jerk heavy clubs out of the trunk of your car, you could injure yourself before you reach the first tee. Use proper lifting technique: Keep your back straight and use the strength of your legs to lift.
8. Try to avoid hitting objects other than the ball. Elbow and wrist injuries are often the result of hitting the ground or the rough.
9. Choose proper footwear. Dress for comfort and protection from the elements. Wear golf shoes with short cleats. Long cleats dig into the ground and hold your feet planted as you swing, which may strain your knees or ankles.
10. Chiropractic. Whether you are a weekend golfer or consider yourself a pro it is important to keep up with chiropractic adjustments. Regular wellness adjustments will prevent pain and help relieve pain. Another added benefit of chiropractic care is that you may experience a better golf game, since a proper spine and posture can help you swing better and hit the ball straighter.
Photo credit: Golf Digest