The golf swing can be particularly hazardous to the body if done incorrectly and therefore it is vital to ensure stabilisation of the spine is occurring in order to reduce the likeliness of injury.
These days, our more sedentary approach to life on the whole has contributed to a general lack of flexibility and stabilisation of our musculoskeletal system – key factors in improving your game and reducing your pain. The golf swing incorporates nearly every joint between the tips of the toes and the ends of the fingers, so it’s really no surprise that even just one poorly functioning area may be the thing holding you back from that single-figure handicap!
Any restriction in the motion and stability of your body’s joints ultimately shifts the workload to other, healthier joints, causing compensatory strain and increasing the likelihood of injury. It may even be costing you that birdie on the 9th hole!
Whether you’re managing a golf-related injury or aiming to improve your swing, improvement of joint mechanics and core stability are paramount in providing the body with optimal strength and stability during your game. Good core stability maintains the position of the trunk as a unit during the swing, reducing torsional stress on the spine. This segmental motion provides optimal joint centration and stability, resulting in maximum power and performance for minimal effort.
These are the basic principles employed by some of the world’s top athletes and can be clearly seen in the effortless swing of Tiger Woods or seemingly impossible back-hand of Roger Federer. Just have a look below at the relationship between spinal flexibility and its effect on club head speed between the average amateur golfer and Tiger himself*.
So what can you do to improve your game?
- Have some lessons. Have your posture and technique assessed by a trained professional.
- Make sure you have the most appropriate equipment for your height and technique. Compensating for equipment that is not suited to you can increase the likeliness of unnecessary strain.
- Stretch. Before and after your stint on the course or driving range.
- Implement simple core stability exercises into your normal exercise regime. Inadequate core stability is a major risk factor for the development or progression of low back pain.
- Push your buggy, rather than pull. Pushing the buggy may help to minimise straining or twisting of the spine unnecessarily.
- Play more and practise less. The walk between holes is the perfect way to keep your joints and muscles warm and flexible as well as being great for your general cardiovascular fitness.
- Correct any biomechanical dysfunction in your musculoskeletal system.
While these tips may not necessarily cement your place on the PGA tour, they can protect your body from unnecessary strain and significantly reduce the likeliness of injury and joint degeneration. Implementing these simple changes now may help keep you on the course for years to come and hopefully improve your handicap too!
Learn more about exercise and core stability. To learn more about how chiropractic may help to improve your golf game, don’t hesitate to talk to any of the chiropractors here at Shirley Rd Chiropractic, Crows Nest.
*Seaman DS. Back pain in golfers: etiology and prevention. J Sports Chiro Reha 1998; 12(2):45-54.