Low back pain is the most common injury we see in golfers.   

Lower_Back_Pain_Male- It is estimated that more than half of you reading this article will experience low back pain that will affect your performance at some point this season. And at least 50% of you have missed 3-6 weeks of participation in the past because of the pain.  That is a big deal!  The most common cause of injuries in amateurs is mechanics.  So here’s the best part, low back pain is very preventable! 

The six most common mechanisms of injury are:

  1. Poor body mechanics
  2. Poor swing mechanics
  3. Excessive Practice (overuse)
  4. No regular customized exercise program
  5. Poor nutrition
  6. Improper club fitting 

Looking at the most common mechanisms of injury we can see that we can easily address every single one.  Your swing instructor can easily address your swing mechanics and club fitting and your TPI professional (Swing Rx ;)) can address the body mechanics, exercise program, nutrition, and also make sure you don’t overtrain.  Let’s talk a little more about the first 2 since body and swing mechanics will have the greatest influence on injuries. 

There are 4 biomechanical predictors that increase your risk for low back pain. 

Low BMI - this is one instance where being tall and slender is a disadvantage.  The taller and leaner you are the higher your risk for low back pain.

Instability around the lumbar spine will increase your risk for low back pain.  Stability is about how long you can maintain a good position while your body is moving.  This has more to do with muscular endurance than strength.

Hip mobility - decreased internal rotation and tight hip flexors will both put stress on your lower back.  We have addressed most of these in previous articles. 

Injury Fact - The intervertebral discs are over-hydrated first thing the morning; thus the outer fibers of the disc can be subjected to much higher loads causing injury more easily.  Therefore, golfer’s (and everyone else) should not perform full-range spine motion exercises under load shortly after rising from bed.  This overhydration phenomenon is 90% gone after 1 hour. 

There are 3 primary swing characteristics that have shown a high correlation with low back pain. S Posture - this is when you have too much of an anterior tilt, or an arch, in your lower back at address.  That increased arch at address causes excessive compression of your spine.

EarlyExtension - this is when your hips move towards the golf ball at impact.  Golfers without lower back pain demonstrate over twice as much trunk flexion velocity on the downswing compared to those with low back.  In other words, their hips move away from the ball instead of towards the ball. 

Reverse Spine Angle - The most common swing mechanic leading to low back pain.  During the take away your spine should flex and side bend away from your target.  A reverse spine angle is when your extend and side bend towards the target.  This causes rapid flexion, rotation and side bend in the opposite direction through impact, putting excessive stress on the lower back.

Contact us at if you are experiencing low back pain or if you would like to get on a correct exercise plan to prevent future injuries!

Dr. Nick Curry is a chiropractor that is also certified through the highly esteemed Titleist Performance Institute as a medical, fitness, and junior golf wellness professional.  He is the owner of Integrative Health and Sports Performance in Bellbrook and serves at the Team Chiropractor to Wright State and Miami Universities.  To Visit their Website or call 937-848-8500
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