Accessibility View Close toolbar

Improve Your Golf Game & Save Your Back

Many avid golfers contort their bodies into oddly twisted postures, generating a great deal of torque. Couple this motion with a bent-over stance, repeat 120 times over three or four hours, add the fatigue that comes with several miles of walking, and you've got a good workout-and a recipe for potential lower-back trouble.

As America's love affair with the game continues to grow, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has advice on how to take a proactive approach that will prepare your body for many years of pain-free play.

"Most golfers go until they get hurt, then look for help," says Dr. David Stude, member of the ACA Sports Council and founding fellow of the National Golf Fitness Society. "Back pain is a warning sign that there is an underlying problem responsible for a symptom that will likely get worse. Doctors of chiropractic look for the cause of the symptom and help reduce the likelihood of future injury."

If you take the chiropractic approach, you're in good company. According to Dr. Stude, Tiger Woods says that lifting weights and visiting his chiropractor regularly have made him a better golfer. Dr. Stude and the ACA suggest these simple measures to help you avoid back pain or injury and improve your game:

  • Purchase equipment that fits. Don't try to adapt your swing to the wrong clubs: A six-footer playing with irons designed for someone five inches shorter is begging for back trouble.
  • For the women in golf: If you have "inherited" your husband's or significant other's golf clubs, they might be difficult for you to use. Not only are the clubs often too long, but the shaft is often not flexible enough for a woman's grip. Women typically play better with clubs that are composed of lighter, more flexible material, such as graphite.
  • For the men in golf: It is a good idea to spend some extra time performing quality stretches-before and after your game-to increase your trunk flexibility. While men are traditionally stronger than women, they usually aren't as flexible. Men need to improve their flexibility to maintain a more even and consistent swing plane and thus improve the likelihood of more consistent performance.
  • For senior golfers: If you show some signs of arthritis in the hands, consider a larger, more specialized grip for added safety and performance.
  • For all golfers: For some, scores may not be as important as enjoying the social benefits of the game. Having clubs that are comfortable will increase the chances of playing for a long time without significant physical limitations.
  • Take lessons. Learning proper swing technique is critical. At the end of the swing, you want to be standing up straight; the back should not be twisted.
  • Wear orthotics. These custom-made shoe inserts support the arch, absorb shock, and increase coordination. "Studies show custom-made, flexible orthotics can improve the entire body's balance, stability and coordination, which translates into a smoother swing and reduced fatigue," Dr. Stude says. While the upper part of a shoe may score style points, what the foot rests on affects your game.
  • Avoid metal spikes. They tear up greens and can increase stress on the back. Soft shoes or soft spikes allow for greater motion.
  • Warm up before each round. "Stretching before and after 18 holes is the best way to reduce post-game stiffness and soreness," says Dr. Stude. Take a brisk walk to get blood flowing to the muscles; then do a set of stretches. To set up a stretching and/or exercise routine, see a doctor of chiropractic or golf pro who can evaluate your areas of tension and flexibility.
  • Pull, don't carry, your golf bag. Carrying a heavy bag for 18 holes can cause the spine to shrink, leading to disk problems and nerve irritation. If you prefer to ride in a cart, alternate riding and walking every other hole— bouncing around in a cart can also be hard on the spine.
  • Keep your entire body involved. Every third hole, take a few practice swings with the opposite hand to keep your muscles balanced and even out stress on the back.
  • Drink lots of water. Dehydration causes early fatigue, leading you to compensate by adjusting your swing, thus increasing the risk of injury. Don't smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while golfing, as both cause loss of fluid
  • Take the "drop." One bad swing-striking a root or a rock with your club-can damage a wrist. If unsure whether you can get a clean swing, take the drop.

New patients receive a free consultation!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30am - 12pm and 3pm - 6pm

Tuesday:

3pm - 6pm

Wednesday:

7:30am - 12pm and 3pm - 6pm

Thursday:

7:30am - 12pm and 3pm - 6pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

  • "Dr. Blair and his staff are wonderful, caring individuals who have always given my family the best care. You guys are amazing!"
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More
  • An Apple a Day . . .

    What is so good about an apple? Is it the color, ranging from ruby red to pale pink? Is it the crunch? The sweetness? Or is it, instead, a combination of all of these qualities, plus the natural goodness derived from the apple's secret ingredients — phytonutrients? If this were a multiple choice quiz, the answer would be "all of the above". Importantly, in addition to possessing numerous appealing physical qualities, apples contain an abundance of health-promoting biochemicals known as phytonutrients.1,2 These specific organic molecules are derived not only from apples but many other fresh fruits and vegetables, and help power the immune system, protect against cancer, maintain healthy eyes, and assist cells in clearing out metabolic waste products such as free radicals. ...

    Read More
  • Standing Tall

    Young peoples' bones stop growing by approximately age 20, somewhat earlier in women and somewhat later in men. Long bone growth, that is, in the arm, forearm, thigh, and leg, ceases later and smaller bone growth, that is, in the hands, feet, and spine, ceases earlier. In essence, you're as tall as you're ...

    Read More
  • Spring Forth!

    Spring is arriving. The days are getting longer, the air is fresher, and the sunlight is brighter. Flowers and bushes are beginning to bloom. Tree sap is running and there are new baby animals in the world. In short, the world is being renewed and, if we choose to, we too can actively participate in ...

    Read More
  • Chiropractic Care for the Young and the Young at Heart

    Children and adults are the same but different. Most kids want to play all the time, but they also are required to go to school. Most adults would prefer to play all the time – relax, go to the gym, read a book, watch TV, or get together with friends – but most adults need to go to work at least ...

    Read More
  • Care of Concussions

    Concussions are becoming increasingly common, especially among school-age athletes. It has been estimated that there are up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. Concussions are problematic as, by definition, a concussive injury involves some degree of trauma to the ...

    Read More
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup