The golf swing requires high levels of bending and twisting forces. Low back pain is more common on the ‘trail’ side of the low back. The ‘trail ‘side would be on the right for a right handed golfer. The ‘trail’ side is under considerable stress during the club impact with the ball due to the combination of compression and side bending.

The low back is under more stress especially with a ‘hip slide’, a steep swing plane and too upright a finish position.  Most improper swing mechanics that cause low back pain can be traced back to sub-optimal set up position and improper hip rotation.                                              Correct posture at ball set up is the first place to start: Proper position would be; back straight with normal spinal curves, knees and hips bent to 25-30° and both feet turned out slightly.

As a golfer, it's important that you are aware of mobility in 3 key areas involved in the golf swing:

  1. The Thoracic spine

Golf requires a lot of rotation. The thoracic spine provides a lot of this rotation. If it is stiff the rotation (or rotational forces) end up going elsewhere. Often this means the lumbar spine (which is not designed well to do this) and can lead to injury or technique faults.

2.  The Hips

      Having good range of internal and external rotation in the hips is important to facilitate a full and efficient swing through correct loading and weight transference through the feet and up the chain during the golf swing. Limitations in hip rotation have been shown to be linked with increased low back pain in golfers.

      3.  The Shoulders

          Golf is an asymmetrical sport requiring different movements and actions from the lead and non-lead upper and lower limbs. A right handed golfer will require greater range of external rotation of the right shoulder than the left and subsequently more adduction of the left than the right during the swing. Having a good range of movement in both shoulders helps both technique and reducing excess forces to other areas of the body during the swing.

          While mobility is important in golfers, so is the safe control of movement through the swing. Having a stable base from which to create and transmit forces from the ground up through the kinetic chain to the hands is vital for efficient and maximal power creation and use. Being able to control and brake the forces involved in the golf swing is as important as being able to create them.

          If low back pain that is a result of a golf game or practice session lingers more than 2-3 days, consider seeing a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor.

          With golf gaining ground in the last 2 years, the Physiohaus team wants to keep you at your best and feeling good this season!