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Tips to help with Back Pain in Golfers

Back pain is the most prevalent and debilitating injury we see in golfers

In this article we identify three simple tips which will really help off load your lower back.

Three key fundamentals to reduce compression forces on the low back are good posture and set up, using legs effectively and finishing swing in a neutral spinal position. Let us expand on these three points below.

Good posture and set up

Working with professional golfers for many years and standing on the driving range, one of the most important aspects of their golf swing was set up and postural alignment.

If you are not set up correctly, it becomes so much harder to have a repeatable and powerful golf swing. You will become reliant on timing to get the club face square through impact. The biggest fault we see in many amateur golfers with back pain is over-reaching with their arms. This will cause weight to shift onto the toes and increased activation of the lower back muscles. This in turn will cause compression forces to the lower back and increase the risk of injury.

Golfer in blue shirt with golf corrections

Over-reaching through the upper back

Golfer in blue shirt with good markings

Neutral posture, arms hang naturally

Using your legs effectively

A common fault we see with players who have low back pain is the poor use of their legs to generate power. This in turn will cause increased loading of the lower back as the swing will become more arm and upper body orientated.

The action of the hips and gluteal muscles provide massive power advantage in the swing. The fault often seen below is the right leg straightening, this in turn not allowing the right leg to load correctly. The legs become inactive and this will place greater strain on the lower back and upper body.

Steep plane will lead to greater impact into the ground and vibration through arms

Right leg locked up through bad rotation

Golfer in blue shirt with green markings

Proper loading into right side

Neutral finishing position

On follow through and end position of the swing, many players tend to finish in a position with their right shoulder lower than their left. This will cause increased compression forces to the right side of the lower back.

The ideal finish position will see the chest and belt buckle pointing at the target. The shoulders are level allowing the low back to finish in a neutral and extended position. When there are combined movements simultaneously occurring this again will cause increased loading through the lower back. Further, not allowing the right shoulder to release through to the target will result in a loss of power. Look how a javelin thrower gets his shoulder through to the target.

Golfer in blue shirt doing a bad follow through

Improper follow through

Golfer in blue shirt showing proper follow through

Balanced and rotated follow through

Ready to improve your golf swing?

See former PGA tour physio Kam Bhabra

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