Golf !!! Why does it have to be a pain in the Back?
And my 3 tips to relieve it!
Whilst I enjoy my golf and, forever it seems, I am striving towards lowering my handicap from my current 19, the pleasure of the game does have its cons! That mainly for me being the suffering of ‘après golf’ back pain.
I have, until recently however, believed that pain and suffering after a round was not necessarily caused by my golf but that the golf was putting pressure on something pre-existing! Over the years I have experienced various aches and pains to the extent of spine surgery having had an Anterior Cervical Fusion operation. This however being more confined to my neck than back.
These ongoing aches and pains have even resorted me to seek many types of remedy and treatment, including regular Thai Massages carried out by a wonderful lady called Nang. But that experience is far more pain for gain, than relaxing!
I said until recently I believed the back pain was not as I had thought a symptom of Golf. But maybe it is! Allow me to clarify. I have in recent weeks, in a continued effort to improve my game, sought expert advice and taken a few lessons from my local Pro!
The first lesson focussed on my grip which in golfing terms is ‘too tight’ and ‘too open’. Thanks to the expert advice, this I think I have now rectified. Success of which resulting in my first competition win this last week and my first trophy! Moving on to my next lesson, and focus now on my swing, my instructor has identified an awkward lean in my backswing which results in the club not connecting face on to the club and the ball having a wayward trajectory of it own. It seems that I am putting a kink into my hips with the back swing!
During his analysis my instructor asks me if I have any back problems! Because if I do then there is a high possibility my awkward swing would be causing this, if not so far it will do if I carry on especially as I get older.
A revelation! I have now concluded that perhaps it is my golf swing that is the cause of my ‘pain in the back’.
So, what to do now?
Well first, change my swing! And of course, I am working at that, need to move the shoulders round more and not the hips and follow through. That being easier said than done and with my impatience to get it right quicker, I have researched into some additional exercises which I have found very helpful in assisting me with the pain of the game. It is a few of these little tips, courtesy of my good friend and superstar fitness guru Jennie Edmondson, that I would like to share with all you golfers out there if like me you are experiencing the suffering.
My top 3 of Jennie’s tips are:
Core & Oblique Muscles – ‘Russian twist with a twist’
This is a great anywhere, anytime exercise. Try it with a weight or a golf club to step it up a gear! Here’s how to do it.
- Sit on the floor, back straight with legs out stretched.
- Twist round and touch your fingers/weight/golf club down on the ground as far round to the right as you can reach.
- Twist back as far round to the left as far as you can reach.
- Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your back straight throughout.
Balance, Core & Co-ordination – ‘Standing Club Twist’
- Using a golf club for exercises can add a great extra element to the movement, but only incorporate it when you are ready and have good form without it.
- Rotation is a huge part of golf, but often golfers have a good range in one direction and are tight in the other, subject to their ‘handedness’ you need to ensure you have full range of strength and motion in both directions to avoid injury.
- Stand upright with feet hip shoulder width apart. If using, hold a club horizontally in front of you with both hands. If not, bring opposing elbow across to outside of thigh during the movement.
- As you breathe out, bring your right knee up and across to your left as you bring the golf club down and round to the right.
Golf Ball Miracle
Do you wear shoes all day? How often are you bare footed? Your feet are vital to give your brain signals about where you are in space and time (proprioception). When your feet are not given the opportunity to ‘feel’, all sorts of problems can occur. Feedback from your feet has a direct connection to your brain and wearing shoes all day can slow down reaction time and increase injury.
I’m not saying you have to walk around barefoot all day, but spending time on varying surfaces barefoot, will help to wake up that sensory input.
If you don’t manage any barefoot time, here’s a simple quick exercise to relieve some of the tension in your foot; roll a golf ball around under it! Concentrate on any areas of tightness you feel and try this a few times a day (I have a ball next to my bed – I roll my feet every morning to relive back and Achilles pain!)
I hope these exercises prove helpful and of benefit to your golf game. And above all your general well-being and health, as much as they will to mine. It will be great to hear from you with feedback, comments and even further suggestions/advice on the topic.
The MidLife Marketeer – Creating Mid-Lifestyles