While an estimated 75% of people will experience some form of back pain at some point in their life, that number is even higher among golfers. Pro golfers and weekend warriors are both subject to the pain. There are ways to avoid back pain, and, non-invasive treatments if it does happen to you.
Some of the more common causes of back pain in golfers are rotational stress from an improper swing, overextension, pivoting/twisting of the hips, and muscle spasms from overuse. Those with prior history of back injury or pain are at higher risk of re-injury. Deficits of hip range of motion as well as lumbar extension are also common in golfers with back pain. Research studies that have looked at differences seen in golfers with back pain versus pain-free golfers have shown statistically significant differences in techniques. Specifically what was observed is greater spine flexion when addressing the ball and less trunk rotation compared to pain free golfers who had twice as much trunk flexion velocity. That greater spine flexion versus trunk rotation increases risk of back injury.
There are simple solutions to avoid back pain in golfers:
- Proper stretching and warm up prior to play
- Strengthening back and shoulder muscles on days not in play
- Knowledgeable coach/trainer to correct your swing
- Correct fitting footwear
- Cut back on number of days per week
- Avoid playing a full round after a long hiatus from playing
At home remedies for reducing discomfort include icing, rest, or NSAIDS.
If your pain is not resolved after a few days, it may be time to see an Interventional Pain Management Physician for a non-surgical or minimally invasive solution. Some of the methods might include:
- Injections. This may include injection of an anesthetic, a steroid, or both.
- Radiofrequency ablation. This is used as an option to stop back pain that has become chronic and is no longer responding to injections.
- SCS (spinal cord stimulation). Another option to stop chronic pain especially back pain that comes with severe pain in the legs.
At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, we have three locations and offer same day appointments. Ashot Kotcharian, MD is a PM&R physician with a specialty in Interventional Spine & Sports Medicine. With proper attention and treatment for the discomfort, you can get back in the game with minimal down time. Fore!