Swinging Back Into Golf – Without Injuring Your Spine

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 14-May-2019

With golf season underway, many of us are looking forward to finally getting back on the greens. Golf is an excellent way to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors. But despite the quiet tranquility of the golf course, this popular sport can have a violent impact on the spine. The repetitive motions associated with golf puts immense strain on the muscles, ligaments and bones. Aside from spinal damage, overuse injuries are also seen in the forearm, shoulders, elbows and back.  

Many amateur golfers haven’t mastered the correct way to swing. When you combine golf’s complex twisting motions with an awkward stance and lack of balance, injury is bound to occur. If you’re inexperienced or have been off-course for quite some time, be cautious as to how you re-enter the sport. To avoid injury, follow our tips on getting back into the swing of things this golf season.

Get in shape with cardio

So many of us spend the winter months cooped up indoors with barely any exercise. Before heading back on the golf course, take some time to improve your general fitness. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to enhance your endurance levels and get your body limber. Consider activities like swimming, jogging or even riding a stationary bike.

Focus on exercises that strengthen the lower body. In golf, stable hips and legs are key as your upper body rotates for a swing. Golf Digest has published an excellent cardiovascular workout that will help improve your game. The best part is you don’t have to invest in expensive gym equipment. A pair of good sneakers and a bit of commitment is all it takes to get your body primed for golf season.

If you’re already suffering from chronic pain or wear-and-tear issues, consider physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can help you recover, so you can get back on the green in no time by restoring function to key muscle groups through corrective exercises, manual therapy and clinical conditioning.

Work on golf fundamentals with a coach

If you’ve never had a proper golf lesson, consider getting a coach to help you with technique. Correct form is crucial in avoiding spinal injuries, and minimizing damage to other areas of the body. A professional coach can offer technical assistance to develop or adjust your swing. Even if you’ve been playing with bad form for years, it’s never too late to re-learn the basics.

Physiomed offers programs that improve athletic performance. Our team of professionals can ensure your health isn’t getting in the way of your game. Strengthen your golf swing with our customized conditioning program that will assess:

  • Range of motion in your hips, shoulders and back
  • Postural issues that may hinder proper rotation of the torso
  • Stability in your feet and joints
  • Strength performance in key muscle groups, including forearms and shoulders

With expert guidance, you’ll learn how to minimize stress on your spine as you engage in the swinging process. A professional coach can also help you maximize the power of your stroke. You’ll learn how to control your balance, when to shift your weight, and how to maintain a fluid sequence of movement from start to finish.

Stretch before each game

Warming up prepares your heart, lungs and muscles for the real strenuous work your body is about to do. Muscle elasticity is key for increasing strength and improving stability — two very important things for a successful game.

Start with five to 10 minutes of light activity, like walking around the golf course or gently swinging your club. To avoid injury to the spine, don’t forget to stretch your back muscles too:

  • Stand with your feet apart, facing the back of a chair
  • Hold onto the chair with your spine straight
  • Move your body down and away from your hands until you feel a stretch near both armpits

If possible, take some practice shots before your game. Start with your wedge then work your way up to the driver. And remember, keep your warm-up sessions gentle. If you feel pain, then chances are you’ve stretched too far.

Set goals for yourself

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for golf season is to set some goals. This will give you a sense of purpose as you hit the greens. Whether you want to perfect your long distance shot or finally hit that 250-yard drive, goals will help you set new boundaries and improve your overall game.

Just remember to keep your goals realistic and ensure they’re achievable. Otherwise, you’ll feel discouraged if you’re too far from ever meeting them. And treat yourself to a small reward each time you tick a goal off the list. Most importantly, remember to have fun. After all, half of golf is about spending the day with good friends and plenty of sunshine!

For more information on improving your golf game or to book an assessment, contact us here.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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