Golf is one of the most challenging sports you can play today. Driving, chipping, and putting require a surprising amount of torque which can leave your back feeling sore.
But don't turn in your clubs yet; there's hope for managing your lower back pain. With some simple adjustments and exercises, you can care for your lower back pain and prevent it from worsening.
Lower back pain can come in many forms. A dull, chronic ache that plagues you every day, or perhaps a more acute, sharp pain that hits you only when you play. Either way, your nerves, muscles, ligaments, and joints are being affected and begging for relief.
Many times, your back pain will go away over time. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything you can to recover and live a pain-free life now.
You likely hit the links for an early morning tee time. The morning is when your body is the stiffest and requires stretching to loosen those sleepy muscles and joints. Don't just head straight to the course and take your first swing.
Come up with a regular warm-up routine. You can do this when you get to the course before you tee off to be sure your muscles are warm right before you begin. You can even use a driver as a tool to assist with your stretches. Your routine should focus on your upper and lower back as well as your hamstrings and hips.
Did you know that your hamstrings, hips, and glutes all feed into your lower back muscles? This means that when those muscles are tight, they pull on the lower back, creating tension and pain. Your back pain may be coming from one or more of those areas, so it's important to stretch it all.
Bend over and gently touch your toes to stretch out your hamstrings and release your lower back. Don't worry about keeping your knees straight. A gentle bend can feel even better.
Try taking your knees to your chest to loosen up your hips and take the club behind your neck, holding either side, to stretch out your upper body, arms, and neck. A warm-up like this will make a lower back sprain less likely, and you'll feel better after the round is done.
Did you ever think that golf may not be the sole problem with your back? It could simply be adding to the pain if you're already in another consistent situation that strains those muscles as well.
Are you hunched over a computer or desk every day? Does your work require you to be on your feet a lot? There are several other factors to consider and working on your posture could be a way to manage the pain coming from various sources.
If you're at a desk during the day, be sure it's ergonomic. This means ensuring the chair, desk, computer height, mouse and any other tools you use are all set up to promote proper alignment for your body.
If you stand all day, be sure you're slightly bending your knees and not favoring one leg over the other, this could cause you to unevenly distribute weight and put extra, unnecessary pressure on your lower back.
It’s also important to be working on your posture when you swing. You don't need to stand hunched over the club to putt well. Try to maintain a neutral spine when setting up to swing and notice if it alleviates any of the pressure on your lower back.
Exercising and stretching on off days can be a game changer when it comes to managing your lower back pain. If you're only dealing with the symptoms on the days you play, you aren't really going to heal or see significant improvement.
You need to work consistently and target the area bothering you to see results. You should try to stay active with a low impact workout between days on the course. Try swimming, yoga or speed walking.
You can simply lay down on a yoga mat, take your knees to your chest and gently cross your knee to one side, releasing tension in the lower and middle back. Or, on your hands and knees, look up with an arch in your back and then down to reverse the motion, stretching out your spine.
If it's not the swing that's causing your lower back pain, it could be the way you're carrying your golf bag. That thing's not light! Not only are you carrying a heavy bag to and from the course, but you're also bending down to pick it up which irritates the lower back.
Try purchasing a golf bag that has a stand on it, so you don't have to place it all the way down, therefore eliminating the need to bend over and lift it. You can also get two straps put on your bag so you can carry it more like a backpack, evenly distributing the weight around your back and avoiding excess weight in just one area.
What you do after you leave the course is just as important as what you did to prepare for your round of golf. When you're done, be sure to stretch similarly to the way you did before you started.
Let the muscles cool down and release any tension that was built up during the game. You should also consider getting a or heading to a sauna or steam room to treat the sore muscles and alleviate some pain.
If you're feeling inflamed, try icing your back or alternating between cold and hot to get the effects of both.
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