Golf can be a lifestyle for the avid golfer, and when back pain alters that lifestyle, it can be frustrating. Many people with back pain are eager to get back into playing golf as soon as possible. On the road to recovery, it is important to be conservative because some movements in golf may aggravate your pain if you do too much too quickly. Here’s our suggestion for the best way to ease into hitting the links.
Start with Your Short Game
As you start, limit your activities to chipping and putting only. These exercises do not put a lot of strain on your back, so they are a good place to start when you are testing the waters. If you don’t have any pain while you chip and putt and you feel good afterward, that is a good sign. Pay attention to your body and any pain you may have overnight or the next day. If you are still pain-free the next day, you’re ready for the driving range.
Move to the Driving Range
Start by hitting an entire bucket of balls with a 7 iron. If everything goes well, move to low-numbered irons (if you still have them) to hybrids, fairway woods, and finally the driver. Don’t advance more than one club each day. Once you can hit a full bucket of balls with your driver and have no pain in the following days, you can feel confident in your ability to play a full round of golf without pain.
Work on Your Swing
While you’re doing all this practice on the range, it is a great opportunity to perfect your swing. The best way to reduce strain on your back during the golf swing is simply to eliminate twisting your spine at the end of your backswing. This also has the benefit of keeping you on plane, making it much more likely you will hit a nice, clean, straight shot. Focus on using the momentum from your backswing instead of powering your stroke by twisting your spine. You may lose some length, but many people actually enjoy the round a lot more because they are consistently hitting the ball straight.
Up the Ante
If you want to do something great for your back, try to play without a golf cart to increase the amount of time you on your feet. If walking the course isn’t an option at least try to take a few extra steps to burn some calories while you’re out there. Think about it: playing golf consistently can increase the number of steps you are taking every day. As Mark Twain said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”
Here in Arizona golf is an incredibly popular sport. Listening to your body and following our advice will make sure you continue to play pain-free. Get on your feet, enjoy time with friends, and get back in the game.