Getting Your Back into the Swing of Things
Whether amateur or professional, the golfer’s goal is to perfect the complicated sequence that comprises a perfect swing:mental focus, proper stance and balance, and multiple muscles, tendons and joints from the tips of the fingers to the lower body, all working in a unified order.As most golfers will attest, this “swing” theory works better some days than others.Life interferes – lack of sleep, weight fluctuations, work stresses, illness – besides the competitive nature of the game itself.Like sand in the machinery, there are many things that can make that perfect golf swing difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain.
Golf injuries are not uncommon. The National Health Statistics Report (NHSR) investigated injuries among numerous sports, contact and non-contact, which included all age groups. Data analysis shows that over 34% of golf injuries are to the lower back, comprising the largest percentage for this sport.Other studies show that golf injuries are not incident-related – rather, they develop over time – usually due to the impact-and-follow-through part of the swing.
For prevention, physicians recommend warming up properly and participating in other forms of exercise that support strength and flexibility.Contrary to what the committed golfer may believe, focusing solely on practicing the perfect swing can actually be harmful because the repetitive motion causes wear-and-tear on specific muscle groups.Aerobic exercise paired with strengthening the body’s other muscles will reduce back injury risk.Analysis by a golf pro often helps, as the pro may catch small adjustments to stance or swing that will alleviate spinal pressure.
Once a lower back problem develops, it may take a month of rest, therapy and possibly medication to fully recover.Best to properly prepare for that perfect swing – short of that, better to catch a problem early.