img (858) 800-2955
img 10650 Scripps Ranch Blvd, Suite 124 San Diego, CA 92131
1st Apr


Low Back Pain in Golfers

Over 30 million people in the United States reportedly play golf, a third of whom are > 50 years old. However, studies have shown that almost half of all golfers suffer injuries each season. In amateur golfers, low back pain is the most common injury, and professional golfers are reported to have the highest incidence of back pain of all professional athletes.

The golf swing produces significant forces, through compression, torsion and shearing of the spine. Such forces may exceed the tolerance to spinal tissues, in particular if there are already degenerative changes present in the aging discs and facet joints.

Today, the “modern swing” is frequently taught, which causes increased twisting and backward bending of the spine, often beyond a person’s physiological limit. The classic swing allows for more hip rotation and less extreme motion of the spine, which is preferred for golfers with back pain. Therefore, it is often recommended for the golfer with a back problem, to work closely with a professional golf instructor to learn a more appropriate swing.

For a golfer to have a good golf swing which does not produce excessive strain on the low back, there needs to be sufficient mobility and flexibility of the hips, knees and ankles. Exercises for the spine, however are better spent on developing increased stability rather than flexibility, although a spinal joint segment which is too restricted may first need to be manually mobilized before proceeding with such exercise. Therefore, a thorough clinical examination is typically recommended before starting a golf exercise program.

Such a training program can be helpful to treat low back pain in golfers, as well as to prevent injuries. Basic flexibility stretches can address lower extremity restrictions, but any underlying joint pain must be considered, and not made worse.

Back and trunk exercises should first focus on coordination training, especially with slow rotational trunk movements performed with light resistance. Exercises to activate and train deep stomach muscles, gluteal and hip rotator muscles and scapular (shoulder blade) muscles are also important.

The exercise intensity can then be raised with faster and more fatiguing endurance exercises, as long as good coordination is maintained. Strength exercises can next be added, by increasing resistance and also include more difficult diagonal movement patterns. Finally, speed and power exercise and golf specific training can be added, but his must not be started until the other stages have been completed.

Please feel free to forward this letter to anybody interested in golf, or who have experienced low back pain while playing golf.

With wishes for a healthy spring,


Share This :