How to Reduce the Golf Hazards In You
A non golfer may think that golfing is a safe and harmless sport. However, most avid golfers are well aware of the injuries they can get from their favourite pass time. From swinging to putting to carrying clubs, there is a wide range of potential injuries that may occur. The average professional golfer on tour will experience 2 injuries per year and loose 5 weeks of play due to those injuries. By and far this is mostly due to over use and repetitive strain. For the amateur the reason for injuries is mostly due to a combination of improper swing mechanics, poor fitness and irregular playing frequency.
An extensive amount of research has gone into finding how to maximize club acceleration so as to make the ball go farther. Because of this there has been a shift in swinging styles over the years. The classic swing was rhythmic and flowing with more hip movement. These days the focus is on tightly coiling the body to explode with power and using more of a shoulder turn. Unfortunately this creates a whole lot more torque on the low back. Greater than one third of all golf injuries occur in the back. Up to 80% of golfers, at all levels of play, will experience low back pain at some time in their lives. We saw this summer how Tiger Woods had to pull out of a tournament due to a low back injury. The media later relayed that he had suffered a facet joint injury.
The facet joint is a small joint found in the spine. In fact, we all have two facet joints on each side of the 26 segments that make up the vertebral column. The spinal nerves are in very close approximation to the facet joints and the disc on the opposite side. Interestingly the angle that those facet joints are positioned depends on the region of the spine. For example up in the neck they are angled more horizontally to allow for maximum rotation of the head and neck. But looking up for prolonged periods will irritate these joints and associated nerves. Conversely the facet joints in the lower back are angled more vertically so you are able to bend backward and forward. But constant twisting and torque can injure this area.
The design of the human frame is to work as a whole unit in what we like to call “ the kinetic chain”. When we try to change, force or restrict motion in one region of the body it puts significantly more stress on other parts. Having proper spinal movement and conditioning can go a long way into optimizing the kinetic chain which can improve your golf game and minimize the chance of injury.
What to do: 1) Take some lessons. Even Tiger Woods has a coach to help him improve his swing. A few pointers from a golf expert who knows what they are talking about can make a huge difference in proper swing mechanics. 2) Warm up. Show up early and do a combination of stretches and easy swinging. Unfortunately, most of us show up last minute and hit the big drive without proper preparation. 3) Don’t carry your clubs but rather use a cart and push rather than pull it. Alternate hands so that you can take turns swing your arms while walking.
4) If you are injured, an assessment and treatment from a spinal care expert such as a chiropractor can help you enjoy the game you love.
James DiGiuseppe is a local chiropractor with a busy family and wellness practice. For more health information or to contact Dr DiGiuseppe visit www.portarthurchiropractic.com