Back Pain Can Be Crippling! So much so it can stop a Tiger in his tracks!
Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the U.S. population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
BACK PAIN is the #1 injury amongst golfers!
What Causes Back Pain?
The spine is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. While there are can be many contributing factors that can lead to back pain, for example: arthritis, poor posture, being overweight or obese, poor diet, psychological stress, etc. In order to keep things simple we are going to discuss the most common mechanical causes of Low Back Pain.
Common Mechanical Causes of Low Back Pain
The Joint-By-Joint Approach
The Joint-By-Joint approach states that; the human body works in an alternating patterns of stabile segments connected by mobile joints. If this pattern is broken or altered in any way, compensation will occur which leads to irritation, inflammation, pain and eventually injury.
The Lumbar Spine (in yellow) is a stable segment.
The Hips and Thoracic Spine (in pink) are mobile segments.
The Process is Simple
- Lose hip mobility, get low back pain.
- Lose thoracic spine mobility, get low back pain, neck or shoulder pain.
How We Lose Hip and Thoracic Spine Mobility?
You guessed it.. The chair.. You may have heard this before.. “Sitting is the new smoking”.. The average American is sitting 9 + hours a day! I have clients that admit to 10 or more! Is the image below an exaggeration? Not really.. Go to any office or visit a coffee shop where people are working on their laptops or texting on their cell phones and you will see lots of “C” shaped spines.
How Do This Apply To Golf?
Those of us trained by the Titleist Performance Institute look at how a golfer’s body moves using what’s known as the Level 1 Screen. This evaluation process was developed for golf professionals to identify any physical limitations that might be effecting their golf swing. The level 1 screen looks at flexibility, mobility, stability and balance as it relates to a mechanically correct golf swing.
The physical limitations found in the screen are then correlated to any one of a number of common swing innefficiencies. This correlation is referred to as the Body-Swing Connection.
One swing characteristic known as Reverse Spine Angle is the prime cause of back pain in golfers. Reverse Spine Angle is defined as any excessive upper body backward bend (
The upper body tends to dominate the swing when the lower body can’t start the downswing or has limited ability to initiate the movement. The upper body dominant swing will eventually create path problems and limited power output.
- Foremost, the abilty to separate your upper body from your lower body which allows your shoulders to rotate around the spine without going into backbend or excessive lateral bend. Limited thorax to pelvis separation is caused by reduced spinal mobility and shortened lat flexbility.
- Right hip internal rotation for a right-handed golfer is paramount for full rotation into the right hip without any lateral movement. SEE IMAGES BELOW: If the body is unable to rotate around the hip due to joint or muscular restrictions than a lateral sway may occur. Any lateral sway during the backswing will force the spine to tilt into backward bend and create the reverse spine angle .
- Finally, the ability to stabilize the spine angle during the backswing is directly proportional to strength and stability of the core musculature (your abs and glutes).The core is king when it comes to spinal stabilization. These muscles help keep the thorax forward flexed throughout the golf swing .
Inadequate Right Hip INTERNAL Rotation
Adequate Right Hip INTERNAL Rotation
Check out this YouTube video as Dave Phillips and Lance Gill share how Butch Harmon changed Rickie Fowler’s swing to protect his lower back and discusses what the average golfer can learn from their work.
To find out how your body moves in relation to what is desired of a mechanically correct golf swing give me a call to set up your TPI Level 1 screen and let me help put a Tiger in your tank. Call: (917) 596-8485