WHY LOW BACK INJURY REMAINS #1 AMONG GOLFERS

Bob Forman, MS, Exercise Physiology
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor

There are two main reasons why almost 40% of amateur golfers experience chronic low back discomfort and/or acute injury.  The first is technical in nature and the other has to do with muscular deficiencies. 

From a technique perspective, there are several very common swing faults that can bring on low back issues.  First and foremost is reverse spine or a leaning of the upper body back toward the target during the backswing.  Not only does this fault not place the golfer in a good hitting position to initiate the downswing in the proper hitting sequence, causing the upper body to dominate the swing, it often times leads up to low back issues.   

A close second is early extension or a moving of the hips toward the ball usually during the downswing.  As this occurs it traps or blocks the golfer’s hands and arms behind him usually causing him to push or hook shots.  Increased upper back curvature and head lift generally accompany this fault.  Stress is usually to the right lower back.   

Finally, the S-posture or swaying (arching) of the lower back while at address over the ball places excessive stress to the lower back muscles.  This position also will cause the abdominals to relax, which can lead up to reverse spine or loss of spine, impacting the swing sequence.  This fault is typically seen more often in women and younger golfers. 

Anatomically, irregardless of swing faults, tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh or tight hip flexors in the front of the hip are major factors that contribute to low back discomfort.   

Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?  Tight hamstrings, which are seen mainly in men, may rotate the hip posteriorly toward the back causing the low back muscles to stretch and become taut.  Early signs and symptoms include tightness in the lower back after sitting for a prolonged period of time and/or stiffness the day or two after a round of golf or other physical activity such as raking leaves.  More serious consequences cause the discs in the back to wear out quicker, leading up to a nerve impingement from a slipped or bulging disc and/or a narrowing of the space between two vertebrae.  The result is sciatica, leg pain, or numbness in the lower extremity.   

Tight hip flexors, seen mainly in women, causes the hip to rotate anteriorly toward the front causing an arching or swaying of the lower back.  That, as discussed above with S-posture, places excessive stress to the lower back anatomy.  More serious consequences are the same as those for tight hamstrings.   

Weak glutes, butt muscles, will also play a factor in low back discomfort.  Often times the low back muscles will try to compensate for weak glutes placing additional stress on the lower back.  Of note, most of the golfers I’ve tested to date do not do well when assessing for glute strength.     

Awareness plays an essential role in alleviating and/or eliminating low back discomfort and injury among golfers.  Identifying the particular swing faults and muscle deficiencies allows for the development of a personalized exercise program that will isolate and correct the mechanism(s) causing the pain.  This, without a doubt, is the key to pain-free golf, regardless of how chronic or acute the condition has been. 

For more detailed information about back concerns, how they occur and what to do to alleviate/eliminate them, check out my book, Functional Golf Fitness Training,available at The Book Patch and Amazon.

In the meanwhile, a testimonial of what identifying and correcting the mechanism of injury can do.  An avid golfer, Bill had stopped playing due to pain in his lower back.  Upon assessment, among other deficiencies, it was discovered that Bill’s hamstrings were extremely tight and he showed a marked imbalance in his glute strength.  A corrective program to isolate these areas has brought Bill relief and he is now back on the golf course.   Here’s what he had to say:
 

I had been experiencing lower right side back pain for a couple of months that was so bad that I was not able to play golf and experienced constant pain. During that period I saw a Chiropractor, Orthopedic , Acupuncturist, and Massage Therapist and nothing helped. I had an evaluation with Bob and he developed a program for me and told me that if I would do the exercises on a regular basis that he felt like it would solve my back problem. I have been doing the exercises every other day for 3 months and not only has my back pain gone away but it has definitely helped my golf game. I live on a farm that requires a lot of physical activity in my daily routine. It is amazing how much more flexible I am now and how much easier my other daily activities are now.      

 

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

Static Hamstring Stretch

 One of the main factors for low back discomfort is tight hamstrings, which can also affect hip mobility in the golf swing.

 

 

Check with your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

GOLF FITNESS
ASSESSMENT & TRAINING


A quality, customized golf fitness program will. . .
  • Enhance swing efficiency
  • Increase distance
  • Improve playing performance and satisfaction
  • Identify and correct golf-specific injury triggers

    All for much less than what another brand new driver that's going to "fix my game" would cost
     
click here for details

  


The golf exercises are going great.  I am hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it.  My back pain has gone away also. 
 
David R. 

more testimonials

HOST A WORKSHOP

If your Club or organization would like to host an informative golf fitness workshop, contact Bob at bob@golfitcarolina.com or 336-509-4610.

Bob came to my club and did a hour long session on the basics of his teaching and philosophy of fitness and how it relates to the golf swing and its performance.  My members thoroughly enjoyed the hour and wanted more.  I was impressed with his content and explanation.  My members were floored with his Q&A and his personal adaptation to their issues.  I was impressed with his interaction with attendants of the seminar.  If you are looking for someone to integrate your fitness program with the golf program, Bob is the guy to do it!  We will be booking Bob to come back to our club next spring.
Shannon Howell, PGA Head Golf Professional
Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire Valley, NC


"Bob Forman was fabulous!  He is a great presenter who shared some extremely valuable information related to how anatomical deficiencies such as: poor posture, flexibility, and balance impact our golf swing.  He not only shared what they are and how they impact the swing, but also demonstrated exercises to help correct them."
Ellen Gregory
EWGA-Wilmington, NC chapter

“Westchester is one of the Country’s largest private clubs with a membership that has high expectations for service and performance.  Bob Forman’s seminar on golf specific fitness and flexibility was extremely well received and motivated many of my members to begin a program of evaluation, exercise and follow-ups.  I highly recommend Bob for his knowledge, energy , and ability to connect with amateurs concerning golf fitness.” 
John Kennedy, Director of Golf
Westchester CC, 
Harrison, NY

Bob has a fantastic ability to understand and combine his expertise of the physical complexities of the human body with the PGA Professional’s trained eye with respect to the complexities of the golf swing.  Bob offers a refreshing angle that most amateur and professional golfers can understand and embrace.  Many times, a golfer will have physical limitations that prevents him or her from moving the way the PGA Professional is trying to instruct.  Bob can take the golfer’s weakest physical traits and focus a training program to better overcome those obstacles and allow the golfers to ultimately improve their swing. 
Dennis Nicholl, PGA Head Golf Professional
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

Functional Golf Fitness Training is a comprehensive player improvement resource for golfers of all ages and levels, teaching professionals and coaches.  
A great manual for golf teams as well.  

Dedicated chapters on:
- how to identify and correct the common physical deficiencies most golfers have that are impacting their swing and injury potential
- over 40 golf-specific exercises and drills

- preventing/alleviating the #1 injury in golf, low back injury
- how to fix the more common swing faults

Amazon reviews:

"Very clear explanations of causes and fixes for main physical deficiencies affecting golfers. Easy to follow instructions. While other books may give a whole laundry list of exercises that end up not being used, Forman has selected a few for each issue and puts together a program that doesn't take long to do"

"This book not only tells you what to do but also why you need to do and what results you can expect.
I have every book in print about golf fitness and this book is by far the best."


Available in print at TheBookPatch

TheBookPatch.com Buy Now style 1 button
or as an ebook on Amazon

Go to
http://www.amazon.com/Functional-Golf-Fitness-Training-ebook/dp/B00FH88Q0Q

SWING FAULT PHYSIOLOGY

Swing mechanics are often influenced by physical deficiencies in the golfer's body.  Below are some of the more common swing faults, their physical causes and how to correct.

GOLF POSTURE

S-POSTURE AND LOW BACK PAIN

EARLY EXTENSION

SWAY & SLIDE

REVERSE SPINE

While correcting the deficiencies, you also need to rewire the brain-body connection in order to break out of the inefficient swing pattern.  

REWIRE THE BAD SWING HABIT

RADIO / PODCASTS

 

 

November 11, 2017
The top 10 fitness must haves for better golf.  Click on the pic and then "podcast."  
My segment starts at 1:10:30.

 
June 22, 2017
(go to 1:10:00 into the show)
golf posture, muscle imbalance, improving distance, stretching, hydration, Tiger and specialization, Rory and weight lifting



March 14, 2015
(go to 1:08:00 into the show)
fitness vs. golf fitness, strength training and slowing down the aging process, C and S-postures 


scroll down to 9/9/2013
(go to 23:15 into the show)
back injury