If you love playing golf, you will know the frustration of not being able to play due to a sore back, or shoulder injury. So here’s some ideas to help prevent injuries and keep you on the course.
Firstly, the majority of golfing injuries are related to overuse. Studies show that around 80% of injuries experienced in professional and amateur golfers can be attributed to overuse. Injuries can also come about as a result of inadequate physical conditioning, poor swing mechanics, and unintentionally hitting the ground during the swing.
“Golfer’s Elbow” is a very common injury related to the repetitive/overuse of a muscle in the forearm, usually affecting the trail arm (Right arm for right handed golfers). It can also occur traumatically from a rapid force (for example hitting a root with the club on your swing or gripping the club too tightly. Treatment for “Golfer’s Elbow” can consist of a combination of relative-rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, physical strengthening and rehabilitation, bracing, and in some instances injections may be warranted.
Back strains are another very common type of golfing injury, and can have numerous causes. For example inadequate warmup of the lumbar spine and muscles through the back, excessive trunk rotation through back-swing and follow through, poor stability around the abdominal and back region with the swing, and overuse. In older populations, there is an increased likelihood of osteoporosis, which can weaken the stability of the lumbar spine, further predisposing risk of injury to the back. Most back injuries can be improved through anti-inflammatory medications, soft-tissue mobilisation/manipulative techniques, and a lower back-focused exercise regimen designed to restore and maintain flexibility and core strength.
To avoid overuse injuries, and back strain type injuries while playing golf, consider adopting a year-round physical conditioning program that focuses on muscular strengthening, flexibility, and aerobic conditioning. Ensure you are implementing a good warm up - approximately 10 minutes, including stretching, walking, arm swings, trunk rotation and bending.
It is also important not to let small niggles turn into injuries, so if you are noticing that things are worsening or not improving, best to have it assessed by a health practitioner.