Back Pain in Golfers


June 14, 2011

by Mike Marcin, PT

Back pain is common with many golfers.  Physical therapists can help diagnose factors limiting a golfer’s performance, as well as develop exercise programs to help manage the increased stress on the spine during the golf swing.

Research has shown the golf swing puts increased pressure on the spine.  To be exact, the golf swing can place eight times your body weight through the lower back.  With golfers who experience low back pain, the abdominal muscles fatigue quickly.  Without good core strength, more stress is placed on the ligaments, vertebrae, and discs.

Strengthening the abdominals and low back muscles, safely and effectively, is key in controlling low back pain and improving performance on the golf course.  Working with a physical therapist initially is important for a number of reasons:

  1. Many people need to learn how to properly perform exercises, especially for the abdominals.  There is much more to it than just crunches and sit-ups.
  2. To properly train muscles, exercises need to begin with positions, in which the back is kept straight.  This may involve Thera Ball exercises as well for more challenge.
  3. Over time, more movement will be integrated into your exercise program to involve more muscle groups and simulate the golf swing.

By learning exercises initially to help strengthen the back properly, you will be able to perform the golf swing with less stress on your spine, and most importantly, with less pain.