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Golfing back pain injuries

By Shanilla Nov 02 2012 | 5.26 PM

Many people achieve great pleasure in playing golf and it is a very popular pastime. However in my clinical practice I do see some lower back, shoulder and elbow injuries related to playing golf which can be very frustrating for players as it affects their performance. More often than not most low back strains that occur due to playing golf are self-limiting and tend to gradually improve within a few days or a week or so.


The common lower back injuries include:

  • Muscle strains which can occur due to a forceful or rough swing.
  • Tendon strains because of incorrect swing.
  • Disc injuries may also result due to an incorrect swing although I tend to find that there was probably a pre-existing disc strain that was aggravated by playing golf.



There are a few key areas golfers should focus on to help prevent injuries from occurring:

1) Warming up adequately is probably the most important factor which will help reduce injuries. Engage in a warm up session that mimics movements specific to playing golf, as this will help stretch the muscles that you are about to use as well as stimulate parts of the nervous system  that supply those muscles and joints. Simple exercises such as squats while raising your arms over head, gently rotating the trunk while swinging your arms, will take the muscles and joints through a functional range of movements that is specific to performing the golf swing. Spend 15 minutes on your warm up so that you really stimulate the connection between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. That way when you arrive at the golf range you feel like you have been hitting balls already and this will reduce the risk of injuries due to a poor swing.


2) Flexibility is the other main area which golfers should focus on. I find a lot of people do not spend enough time stretching or not holding the stretch for long enough.  In my experience there are groups of muscles that affect golfers, due to over activity these muscles become short and tight. They include the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteal muscles, the inner and outer thigh muscles, some of the spinal muscles and muscles acting over the neck and shoulder joints. As so many muscles are affected I advise doing yoga twice a week, this will ensure you sufficiently stretch all of the muscles mentioned above.


3) Get your posture checked by a registered osteopath who can also work through the joints and muscles to offer increased range of movement and flexibility.  Make sure you book regular sessions with a golf coach who can advise you on your swing and golf equipment.



Shanilla Isabel Diaz is a Registered Osteopath at

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