GOLF IS HARD ENOUGH, WITHOUT IT HURTING YOU TOO
Is pain already a part of your golf game? According to the staff at Exercise Therapy of Kansas City, “It doesn’t have to be this way. You can overcome the pain and get back to your game – often as a better golfer because of it.” In other words, not only can you end your pain, you can improve your golf swing at the same time with the following tips.
Pain is a common problem for most golfers, including professionals. GolfSupport assessed data from a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that nearly 9 in 10 will suffer a golf-related injury at least once in a lifetime. That means that chances are, you’ve already had pain and injury slow you down, or you’re about to experience it.
SOURCE OF THE PAIN
The source of your pain while golfing might not be what you think it is. You might blame overuse or wear and tear, but that doesn’t explain why only one area of the body hurts and not the rest. You’d be closer to the truth if you said “repetitive motion” has caused the wear and tear in your aching knee or back. Golf is a repetitive, rotational sport. So, like it or not, planting your feet and swinging your club thousands of times every golf season places a lot of torque on the ankles, knees, hips and spine. The repetitive torque isn’t the problem either though. Fortunately for all golfers, tennis players, and others who twist and rotate all day at work or within their sport, your body was designed to move in all directions, including rotation. The problem with all of the repetitive rotation you’re hammering your body with during golf, is that you almost never rotate in the opposite direction. This places an imbalanced demand on your ankles, knees, hips, spine and shoulders.
THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR GOLF SWING
It’s a proven fact that our muscles acclimate to the demands placed on them. This includes the repetition of swinging a golf club. As you lift weights or swing your club, your muscles get stronger. Sitting around on the couch and moving less results in weaker muscles. Taking this one step further, our body’s response to stimulus is detrimental when we give it stimulus in an unbalanced manner.
Why does this matter to your golf swing? It matters because too much repetitive motion in one direction will inadvertently cause your body to become crooked. The hundreds of thousands of swings you’ve taken over the years adds up. You’ll need to ‘unwind’ your crooked posture if you want to reverse the effect of this stimulus you’ve put on your body year in and year out. Crooked joints hurt, and painful joints could mean the bitter end of your golf game. You can, however, reverse this negative stimulus by the same principle and begin to apply the “right” stimulus to straighten your posture.
PREVENT FURTHER INJURY
Even if you don’t have pain yet, straightening your posture is the first step you can take to prevent future injuries. If you’re already hurting, unwinding your crooked posture will be your fastest path to getting out of pain. The rotational forces put on the body with the golf swing result in similar changes amongst all golfers. If you’ve golfed for years, you are likely to have an elevated hip, a rotated or elevated shoulder, or one foot or knee turning out more than the other. All of these imbalances will prevent you from having a balanced stance and a natural swing. By reversing these problems, you’ll end your pain, prevent future injury, and become a better golfer.
SIMPLE MOVES TO END PAIN
Try this mini-golf sequence to correct the common posture problems that plague most golfers. These are also simple exercises that will improve your golf swing, whether you have pain or not.
1 Standing arm circles– This exercise gets both arms limber and working in the same way. It will level your shoulders and reduce the rotation in your shoulders and hips if you have any.
2 Standing windmill– Have one shoulder or hip that twists forward or dips lower than the other? This exercise can correct that, and it can also correct a lateral shift in your spine.
3 Upper Spinal Floor Twist– Try this exercise to open up your shoulder and give yourself an amazing back-swing. Most golfers will find that they can rotate farther back with one arm more than the other.
4 Cats and Dogs– Now that you’ve gotten your twist more even right and left, it’s time to get your hips, shoulders and spine to flex and extend in a balanced fashion. This exercise is a common one, and it’s also the best exercise to do for the rest of your life to prevent back pain.
IMPROVE YOUR SWING
The good news is, Travis at Exercise Therapy of Kansas City is right, you CAN play golf pain-free again. The exercises above will help you feel better, prevent further injury, and improve your golf swing — simply by straightening your posture. With better posture, you’ll have your body working for you instead of against you. You’ll have better balance and stability, more power, and the ability to rotate more fully (and with less shift or sway). The exercises in this article will get your body straighter, but keep in mind that they are still a generic sequence. If you want the fastest path to pain relief for your body, get a highly personalized program from Travis, an expert posture therapist, or try a custom-tailored virtual program from PTXTherapy.com.