From the backswing all the way to impact, there are a lot of mechanics that go into the perfect golf swing. Whether you are aiming to lengthen your driving distance, improve your swing so it doesn’t slice or hook, or just make your game a bit easier, we’ve got some tips in our latest blog to really help you level up your game.
It all starts with the swing. The all-important part of golfing. An astounding amount of compressive force, up to ten times your body weight, is placed on the spine during a golf swing. Nearly every joint used in the swing is taken through its maximum range. Unfortunately, over 80 percent of golfers suffer injuries or pain related to their game. This means that out of the five people you see on the green, four of them are in pain. This can result from an improperly aligned spine and a repetitive swing. While you may think that better equipment will help your golf game, that’s not the only thing. Studies show that the biggest barrier to improved performance on the course is the condition and physical fitness of the golfer.
Have you ever heard someone say that golf isn’t a real sport? If so, they clearly haven’t played the game. Golfing equals a lot of walking. An 18-hole game results in five to six miles of walking. It also includes a lot of bending over, twisting, and repetition when swinging. This takes a toll on the body. Your golf swing can lead to compression of cartilage in the discs of your spine and knees, as well as tendonitis and arthritis in your elbows, knees, back, and more.
In order to swing a golf club properly, you need unrestricted motion in the joints, spine, and pelvis. Think of your body as a top, with your spine as the axis in which your hands, arms, and golf club rotate. If the axis remains balanced, the top moves quickly and smoothly, but if it’s unstable, it will topple over. So, what injuries can topple the top? Here are some of the most common golf injuries you should be watching for.
- Back Pain – A golfer’s stance is hunched, twisting, and swinging which results in pressure on the spine. This back pain, specifically lower back pain, stems from several causes such as pelvic or mechanical misalignments, subluxations, and herniated discs.
- Golfer’s Elbow – Medial epicondylitis, also known as golfer’s elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the elbow. When you repeatedly swing your golf clubs, this can place a lot of pressure and strain on the tendons resulting in pain and inflammation.
- Muscle Pulls – Golfing involves a one-sided dominance on body stress. This means that strains to the dominant side of the body are common when you make repetitive motions. This can result in imbalanced muscle development and pain due to pulled muscles.
- Thigh or Knee Injuries – The knee is one of the weakest joints, especially where it joins the femur’s soft cartilage along the tibia. Unfortunately, this area experiences a lot of strain and pressure during golf. Knee and thigh injuries are often associated with golfing and the most common causes are poor posture, overuse, poorly fitted shoes, and muscle weakness.
- Shoulder Injury – Shoulder injuries make up 8 to 18 percent of golfing injuries due to the broad range of motion when swinging a club. This can result in aches and pains in the shoulder that your chiropractor may be able to eliminate.
What the Studies Say
Recent studies show that chiropractic care can not only prevent or treat golf related injuries, but it can also improve golf performance. Studies published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine show that a combination of stretching and chiropractic care are associated with greater improvements in the swing of a golfer when compared to only stretching. The study included two groups of golfers. One group received stretching only while the other received stretching and chiropractic adjustments. After four weeks, the stretching only group showed no improvement in their golf swing performance. However, the stretching and adjustment group improved their swing and driving distance improved each week following treatment.
So, what exactly can chiropractic care do for golfers? Here’s a more in depth look into the benefits regular chiropractic care can have on your golf game.
- Enhances Strength – Your muscles work with your brain to send messages to other parts of the body. For example, in a golf swing, you core, arms, legs, and shoulders all receive messages from the brain. These work together to help you swing the club correctly and get the ball where you want it. If these signals are interrupted, you can only imagine what happens. Having chiropractic care will align your spine, improve your nervous system, and make sure all the signals are in working order.
- Improve Flexibility – Flexibility is an essential for golfers, and when you aren’t flexible, it can cause issues with the accuracy of your swing. Visiting your chiropractor can fix subluxations that could be limiting your flexibility and help enhance your flexibility in other areas by decreasing inflammation and stiffness. Silent injuries can mess up your game without you even knowing why it’s happening.
- Prevent Injuries – Back issues are common with golfers, and they are often the result of a misaligned spine because the motions in a swing put pressure on the spine. A chiropractor can perform adjustments to increase your odds of avoiding future injuries.
Clearly routine chiropractic care provides a ton of benefits to golfers, but it can do more than just help your golf game. It will also improve your overall well-being and health and being healthy overall will boost your golf game too.
Stop Pain Before It Starts
Although golf is a relatively low-impact sport, it is linked to many injuries. And while natural treatments, like chiropractic care are an excellent way to treat injuries, avoiding them as much as you can is best. Here are a few tips to help you stay in shape on the course:
- Use Good Posture When Swinging – Your body needs to follow a coordinated, complex movement when swinging. Doing that repeatedly can result in injury over time, especially if you aren’t using correct posture. Avoid this by keeping your spine straight and don’t hunch over the ball when you swing.
- Don’t Swing Aggressively – If you swing your golf club too fast or hard, it places additional stress on your spine and joints. The best golfers have consistent, not necessarily fast, swings, so take it nice and easy when swinging at the ball.
- Warm-Up – Take a few minutes to warm up before playing a round of golf or practicing your swing. Be sure to stretch your wrists, hands, forearms, spine, elbows, and pelvis.
- Carry and Lift Equipment Carefully – Golfers that carry their equipment are at higher risk of back and shoulder injuries due to the extended stress on their spine. Lift your equipment properly by keeping your back straight and using your legs to lift and not your back.
These tips can help you avoid injuries, but if you think you have already injured yourself, you should seek treatment from an experienced chiropractor as soon as possible so you can get back in the game as quickly as possible.
Some chiropractors specialize solely on golfers while others treat all types of people suffering from various ailments. If you are looking for help improving movements such as your golf swing or if you have golfer’s elbow, a chiropractor may be able to help.