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Feeling Under Par? Osteopathy Can Help Get You Back in the Swing

We treat many golfers at Cedar Hall Clinics for various conditions, but lower back pain (lumbar spine region) is one of the most common ailments and can be a problem for golfers of all ages. Various studies have estimated that roughly a third of all golfers will struggle with lower back pain at some point in their lives.

Golfers

 

What causes this pain?

Each individual case is different and the cause of the lower back pain can vary but in our experience a lack of mobility in the ankles, hips, middle back (thoracic spine) and shoulders forces the lower back to work excessively hard. This puts a lot of pressure on the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) – the spot where the spine connects with the pelvis – as many golfers will rely on their lower back to generate the turn and power in their swings. This is particularly true for golfers with weak glute and hip muscles and those that have a poor range of motion in their mid-back region.

Another issue is that golf is a one-sided sport and golfers tend to put more stress on one side of the pelvis than the other. Most golfers also aren’t very good at stretching and warming up prior to teeing off and this can be a significant contributor to back pain after their round.

So what can be done?

  • Warm up properly
    Going straight to the first tee from your car or the clubhouse without doing a warm up is one of the surest ways of ending up with lower back pain. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes and start your warm up with some simple stretches on the following areas;
  • Shoulder & Torso: Hold a golf club with both hands across the shoulders and gently rotate the torso on both sides
  • Hips: In a seating position, pull one knee to the chest and repeat on the other side
  • Hamstrings: Starting in a standing position, bend over and try to touch the toes. Having flexibility in your hamstrings is essential if you want to avoid back pain as it will allow more movement in the pelvis and help reduce the stress on the lower back.

Practice smooth swings with good rhythm

With a proper swing you should be using the shoulders, chest, pelvis (hip) and lower back muscles to share the load of the swing. Practicing smooth rhythmic swings helps to develop muscle memory and prepares the muscle groups for the torque (force) and torsion (twisting) that a golf swing produces. Begin with the smaller irons and progress up to the larger woods, as this process will allow the muscles to warm up incrementally.

4507107 - female friends enjoying a game of golf

Use a trolley to carry the golf bag

Golf bags can be heavy and very often you will see golfers carrying them with just one strap on the shoulder. This will create too much pressure on one side of the pelvis. We would always recommend using a golf trolley or buggy, but if you want to carry your bag make sure to use the dual straps to evenly split the weight across the back. This will reduce the chances of developing low back pain from an uneven load.

 

How osteopathy can help

If none of the above tips are making any difference to your pain it may be time to see an osteopath, who are specialists in relieving the pain associated with golfing injuries. Very often the treatment will involve not just treating the area of pain but also focusing on the associated muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments to ensure that they are all functioning optimally. This will help reduce the chances of the same injury recurring while also enhancing the body’s resilience to future injuries.

If you have any concerns over an injury you have picked up playing golf or one that is affecting your game please feel free to give us a call. Or make an appointment for a free assessment to find out what’s going on. We’re always happy to give advice or address any concerns you may have.

Until next time – happy golfing.

www.cedarhallclinics.co.uk

 

 

 

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SUMMER SPORTS – AND HOW TO SURVIVE!

With the first stuttering efforts of the sun many of us will be brushing the cobwebs off sports equipment such as tennis rackets, cricket bats and, for the fair weather types, even golf clubs.

Our practitioners advise that by all means get out and enjoy the summer sunshine, whether it’s playing sport, swimming in the pool or at the seaside, or cutting grass and weeding the garden, but taking a few simple precautions can help keep pain and injury at bay.

Your best bet is to prevent injury before it occurs. Start slowly. Don’t expect to be in the same playing condition as last year, even if you have been keeping up your fitness level. Muscles and joints respond in a different way to new activities. This may result in minor soreness while your body adjusts. If you push yourself too hard too soon, a minor discomfort can turn into something more serious.

Don’t forget to warm up. You might feel quite warm in the sunshine but, you still have to give your muscles a chance to go through the motions and get blood pumping to all the necessary areas. Gentle stretching before finishing your activity will also help those hard-working muscles retain and improve flexibility. Drink plenty of fluids!

Tips for Golfers

Golfers are prone to back injury, mainly due to the stress placed on the spine during a club swing. A good swing, especially during the follow through, often pulls on the lumbar region.

Exercise regularly to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the long muscles on either side of the spine help prevent strain and injury to the golfer. Many golfers carry their own bags, often on only one shoulder. This can trigger back pain. Using a hand pull golf trolley or even adding a special strap helps to balance the bags weight and spreads the load across the entire back.

 Tips for Cricketers

There are many common injuries connected to playing cricket. Hamstring tears for fielders or strains when stooping quickly & often to field the ball are regular problems; stretched ligaments may lead to a lack of stability for the wicket keeper if corrective exercises are not done; chronic back ache may be suffered by the batsman lucky enough to play a long innings and bowlers can experience conditions of overuse affecting the wrist, fingers, shoulders and elbows.

Before the game every team member should go through a series of gentle warm up exercises. Stretching at regular intervals during the course of the match is also highly recommended. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of instant ice packs handy in your sports bag just in case!

Tips for Tennis Players

Researchers have looked at the patterns of muscle activity triggered during the course of a game of tennis, especially during the serve. The research confirmed that strengthening the abdominal and low back muscles protects against injury.

To prevent damage from over working the same parts of the body, a tennis specific exercise routine will relieve stressed areas and people who take part in back exercise classes can often keep injuries and pain in the lower back at bay. Stretching regularly and ensuring good flexibility is an absolute must for even the infrequent player. Ensure you stretch the whole body starting with your neck and working all the way down to your toes.

Your body will let you know if something is wrong.  Don’t ignore the little aches and pains in the joints and muscles. If they don’t respond to home treatments and rest, seek advice from your osteopath.

Golden Rule: Get fit to play a sport DON’T play a sport to get fit!

 

 

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