Swing into Summer
Improve Your Golf Game and Reduce Your Chance of Injuries
Article contributed by Dr. Eric Plasker, Marietta, GA
Those of you who follow professional golf may be surprised to learn that 70-75% of the golfers on the PGA and Senior Tours receive regular chiropractic care. According to Dr. Tom La Fountain, a chiropractor who has traveled with the PGA Tour, this is because up to 85% of the injuries on those tours relate to the spine. Tiger Woods, the world famous golf champion, is a strong chiropractic advocate, and the PGA medical team always has a chiropractor on staff during tournaments.
While most recreational golfers do not swing as hard or as often as the professionals, they are still at risk of developing spinal problems over time. A golf swing twists the body and creates torque on the spine, stretching one side of the back while contracting the other. Golfers can easily swing 120 times while playing a round of golf. Furthermore, golfers hunch over the ball before each swing and often lug a very heavy golf bag on one shoulder for four hours at a time. It is no wonder why many golfers experience low back pain. Yet the sport can also cause injuries to your shoulders, knees, arms and wrists.
In addition to receiving regular chiropractic adjustments to keep the spine balanced and aligned, Dr. David Stude, a member of the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council, offers these suggestions to prevent injury and improve your game:
- Use clubs and grips that fit you well
- Take lessons from an experienced pro
- Warm up and stretch before each round
- Pull your golf bag on a rolling cart
- Drink plenty of water
- Use soft shoe spikes instead of metal ones
- Wear custom-made shoe inserts to support your foot arch, absorb shock and increase coordination
- Take a few practice swings every few holes with your opposite hand to balance your back muscles
- Take a “drop” instead of trying to salvage a ball stuck next to a root or rock
It is also important to be in good physical shape with strong core muscles and deep spinal stabilizing muscles. “Stability training is, without exception, the most important type of exercise training for the spine, and very few understand this concept in golf circles," said Dr. David Seaman in the February 1, 2002 issue of Golf World. Ask your chiropractor which specific stretching and strengthening exercises would be best for you.
By following these tips you not only will improve your swing this summer, but also will reduce your risk of injury and enjoy the game for a lifetime.