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July 30, 2014

Back Pain for Golfers: How It Affects Your Game and Your Life

The drive called for power and focus but sometime during the downswing, you pulled a back muscle. It could have possibly been avoided, if you had remembered to focus on body position, follow-through and suggested pre-play exercise routines. But now the pain is here and the discomfort may last for weeks. But at least you lucked out. That pre-existing disc lesion escaped damage. In some ways an easy lesson can be worth the pain.

Back Injuries in Golf

If you are golfing with back pain, you're definitely not alone. In a review of golf-related lower back injuries, the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine discovered that 17 percent of the surveyed amateur golfers suffer from back injuries. The review also determined that lower back injuries accounted for 25 percent of all golf-related injuries, and that the follow-through phase of the swing is the likeliest point of injury. Male golfers, weighing in with a 25 to 36 percent damage rate, suffer a slightly higher incident percentage than female golfers, who weigh in with injuries in the range of 22 to 27 percent.

What to Expect Beyond the Pain

Back pain is a common and expensive ailment affecting Americans today. According to a University of New Mexico study, medical costs for dealing with lower back pain topped $24 billion in 1990. In 2013, WebMD estimated the cost for treating back and neck pain at $96 billion. Taking care of your back and preventing injuries can save you from high costs.

Take a Proactive Approach

Many spine and back professionals make resources available through their social media platforms and blogs to give you expert advice. For example, Laser Spine Institute keeps a resource page with a PDF dedicated to helping athletes get back into the swing of things, and they also continually update their blog with tips and advice. Laser Spine Institute's Community Wellness blog gives healthy eating and exercise tips, as well as industry updates. Stay current on tips and advice from experts and other people who have experienced similar back issues.

Avoid Future Back Pain

To help reduce the risk of golf-related back injury, there are things you can do off the course and before a game. Some warm-up stretches and exercises will help prepare your back for a day of golf without the pain. Spine-Health.com suggests you warm up before playing golf to lessen your risk of back injury. First, do some basic muscle stretches, focusing especially on your torso, hips and shoulders. Another way to warm up your back is by practice swinging. This doesn't just improve your game, it stretches out your back and prevents you from pulling it. Practice a smooth, rhythmic swing. This will lessen stress on your back and minimize muscular effort. Balance is another important aspect of a good swing. Bend slightly at the knees and distribute your weight evenly on the balls of your feet. If you've suffered a back injury, your golf game doesn't have to suffer, too. Listen to your body's needs and get back on the green in no time.
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