Baseball may be our national pastime, but golf is where many Americans while away the hours. In 2020 alone, nearly 25 million people played, according to statisticians. That’s an increase of 500,000 over 2019. But as with any sport, injuries occur. While golf may not have the impact of football or running sprints of soccer, its repetitive motion can cause ongoing pain. If you’ve noticed stiffness, soreness, or reduced range of motion on the back 9, give Dr. Chani Henderson of Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic a call.
A lifelong athlete herself, Dr. Henderson understands that “Athletes know their body, and they often know when pain is a real injury instead of just ‘soreness.’ If you think you have an injury that is causing your performance to suffer, get in contact with us and we will help you through the process by diagnosing the pain, and providing a treatment plan to promote your return to pain-free activity.”
Golf works your upper body the hardest. Back, shoulders, neck, wrists, and elbows are put to the test with every swing. Some of the pain can be avoided through proper stretching and warm up exercises but many golfers unfortunately skip this step.
Golf.com explains that “The goal of warming up is to elevate your heart rate and get your blood flowing, which increases your body’s core temperature whereas stretching is used to loosen your muscles and increase your range of motion.”
They suggest that “Warming up properly before you stretch or swing a club is pretty easy. You can do something as simple as making a few slow-motion golf swings, taking a brisk walk, or doing a few squats and lunges—anything that gets your heart rate up and your body moving through a complete range of motion. Once you’ve warmed up, you can run through some stretches to loosen up your muscles and prepare your body to swing a golf club. Getting ready for your round in this order will not only help your performance but also prevent injuries, keeping you on the course longer.”
While it’s tempting to skip the warm-up in your rush to make a tee time, doing so can cause problems, especially as we age. Orthopedists explain that “Any repetitive action can result in musculoskeletal injuries over time. This is a particular problem if you are not used to warming up, stretching or building muscle to counteract overuse injuries.”
These injuries include “The forceful rotation and impact of swinging a golf club can also lead to sprained wrists, elbow injuries and traumatic injuries—for example, if there is sudden resistance from sand in a bunker or you hit a tree root. Tendons, ligaments, nerves and other soft tissue in your joints can get damaged. Modern techniques of creating greater power in the golf swing involve keeping the hips more static, rather than keeping them more aligned with the shoulders. This type of stance increases the rotational force in the lower back and shoulders, creating a greater chance of injury.”
Dr. Henderson knows that injuries like sprains, strains, and tendenosis can be addressed through chiropractic care. Better yet, she says, “Some sports injuries can even be prevented through proper chiropractic care. If hips are misaligned or you have other issues with your back or joints, you may be compensating for that with your movement. Sometimes that compensation can actually cause other injuries throughout your body. Routine body maintenance through chiropractic care will help keep your body in working order making it less likely for injuries to occur.”
For those new to the sport or hoping to take it up as a safe, socially-distanced means of fitness and fresh air, Dr. Henderson can help make sure old injuries from surgery, auto accidents, or past aches and pains don’t flare up. She’ll discuss medical history, hopes for treatment, and overall fitness and mobility goals. Then you can work on ways to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and develop—or regain—the range of motion required for chasing that pesky little ball around 18 holes.
Golf is a fantastic way to be outside, visit with friends, and enjoy relatively low-impact exercise. Before your next round, schedule a visit with Dr. Henderson to chat about ways of improving your body’s approach to it and other sports or hobbies you enjoy. Then dig out your clubs, dust off your tees, and don’t forget to stretch and warm up before taking that first swing. Your body will thank you for it.