Austin Manual Therapy

Golf – Let’s Get BACK Into the Swing of Things

Spring is in the air, birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and Texas is showing off its bright blue skies and sunny days. What does this mean?? IT’S GOLF SEASON. Winter has come and gone and it’s time for you to hit the links!

Golf has always been a passion of mine, and is something I enjoy on a weekly basis. It is one of the few sports that people of all ages can enjoy; grandparents and grandchildren can play right along-side one another, and it’s a sport that you can continue to play as you age. The real kicker is… how do we keep your back safe as golf season ramps up?

There are 2 occasions where keeping your back in a strong, stable position is important:

  • The golf swing is a very fluid motion and is based heavily on your ability to rotate into your backswing, pause, and then change direction rotating down into contact with the ball. Rotation of your lumbar spine places a higher stress on your intervertebral discs, as only 1/2 of the collagen fibers that make up the disc can resist rotation in one direction at any given time. THEREFORE, it becomes very important to place your back in the most optimal position when setting up to begin your swing, so you can keep your back safe and stable.
  • Another time it’s crucial to protect your back is after you make that ever elusive hole in one, and you bend down to grab that golf ball out of the bottom of the cup.

HOW CAN WE KEEP YOUR BACK SAFE?? Here’s a quick tip to help keep you out on the course week after week… BEND AT THE HIPS!

When setting up for your next shot, or when bending over to grab your golf ball out of the cup, think of keeping your back “straight” as you hinge at the hips. For most of us, it will feel as if you’re sticking your bottom out to sit back into a chair. Don’t let your back curve in the shape of a “C”! If your hamstrings feel a little stiff when you do this, don’t panic, just bend those knees a little when bending over. If you can do this, you can keep your back nice and safe, feeling strong for that next round!

Having difficulty figuring out how to hinge at the hips? Fighting off some low back pain, stiffness, or tension? Contrary to popular belief, back pain/stiffness/tension isn’t normal, so come on in to Austin Manual Therapy and one of our highly trained physical therapists would love to help get your back feeling strong, get you hinging at the hips, and back out on the course again!

Rolando Salinas, PT, DPT


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