Low back pain is a frequent problem that many golfers face, especially after long rounds of golf. Furthermore, the purpose of this article is to provide helpful insight on why low back pain might occur and some helpful exercises that you can do before a round to help prevent a post round “CRANKY” back.
Mobile Joints vs. Stable Joints
First, check out these definitions below to help you understand this concept better!
Sagittal Plane: Divides the body into left and right parts. Therefore, to stay in the sagittal plane you must do a linear movement (Ex. Squat)
Stable Joint: The ability to maintain or control joint movement or position.
Mobile Joint: The degree of which an articulation can move before being restricted.
The lumbar spine otherwise known as “the lower back” is a stable joint. Which basically means it is meant to move in one plane of motion (Sagittal Plane). If a stable joint goes outside that anatomical plane then there can be an uncomfortable stress that is placed on the body, in this case, low back pain.
In golf, you get most of your rotation from the hips and t-spine (mid-back to neck area). Those are mobile joints as they can move in multiple directions. If those mobile joints are locked up or not moving properly there is immediate stress that is placed on the stable joint that connects to them. In this case, the “lumbar spine” or “low back”.
Wait what? Hold on, you mean my low back pain might not come from my lower back?
Well the pain might come from your lower back; however, the reason that the pain is there, could very well be due to a lack of mobility in the hips or t-spine.
Awesome, now time for some videos!
1.) T-Spine Shoulder External Rotations
This is a great exercise to free up the t-spine before a round of golf. It is important to keep your eyes on the elbow that is moving throughout the exercise. Also, if you can’t touch your heels to your butt put a foam roller in between. This exercise forces you to lock the lumbar spine down and will help work on increasing t-spine mobility the right way!
2.) 90/90 Hip External & Internal Rotation
This is the best overall exercise for the hips that I have seen. In golf you use both of these movements to ensure a flawless backswing and picture perfect follow through!
3.) Anti-Rotation Press
To rotate properly and avoid pain, you need to be able to resist rotation. Especially in the lumbar spine. Furthermore, an anti-rotation press is the best way to strengthen the core and help stabilize the lumbar spine. It is important to note that you should brace (feel like you’re taking a punch) the core before pressing out the resistance.
In conclusion, it is important to note that this article was written for educational purposes and that there is risk involved with any level of physical activity. Serious, problems with pain should be looked at and addressed by medical professionals (If you need help finding one, I can help!). The main goal was to give you some helpful insight on why it’s important to do these exercises consistently and to help you enjoy a pain free season.
Merritt, April (2011). Stability and Mobility. www.acefitness.org.