With the golf season now in full swing, many golfers may be experiencing some aches and pains from the first several rounds of the course. Low back pain is a specifically common aliment among golfers. Low back pain can be caused by numerous factors, but two areas of deficit are common culprits to low back pain among golfers.
Two Reasons for Low Back Pain in Golfers
The first culprit is limited hip mobility, especially hip internal rotation.
Internal hip rotation involves a rotation of the head of the femur (thigh bone) into the hip socket. On the backswing of a right handed golfer, the right hip will travel into internal rotation, and then on the follow-through, the left hip will travel into internal rotation. If your hips are stiff into internal rotation, it can then cause strain up into the low back as the body attempts to compensate for this lack of mobility.
Another common cause of low back pain is poor trunk control and core weakness.
Core weakness results in increased strain into the joints within the low back during rotational movements associated with the golf swing. Core weakness can also result in deficits maintaining good posture throughout the golf swing. Inconsistent contact and poorly struck golf shots is usually the result.
A recent case report published in Hospital for Special Surgery Journal described a golfer with low back pain due to limited internal hip rotation, range of motion and core weakness. He was treated by a physical therapist to improve hip range of motion and core strength. After several visits the physical therapist not only resolved his back pain, but also was able to decrease his handicap by three strokes. This report emphasizes the importance of maintaining good hip mobility and core strength if you are an avid golfer.