Move Freely | Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic | Edinburgh

Does Golf Cause Back Issues?

Back pain issue

Golf is a game that involves repetitive rotational movements which can in some cases lead to strains and irritations to the muscles or joints in our back. This can be a result of muscular weaknesses, joint stiffness or reduced levels of mobility; when we combine those aspects with swinging a golf club at speed towards a golf ball we put ourselves at risk for injury to occur.

It is probably a more appropriate question to ask “Why does my back hurt when playing golf” as it is unlikely that the activity itself has caused the issue, instead highlighting restrictions to our mobility or weakness that was already present.

Low back pain is the number one injury associated with golfers, there are lots of reasons why this may be the case. This blog will cover just two of the most common causes of low back pain in golfers, the 1st is a restriction or inability to rotate the hips independently of the upper body. Anatomically the lumbar spine isn’t designed to have large ranges of motion through rotation so rather than forcing that part of our back to rotate we should aim to have good control and rotation through the hips during the downswing. Often this is easier said than done due to joint stiffness and muscle weakness leading to poor quality of movement, this is where physiotherapy can help. Through rehabilitation exercises and hands-on treatment, we can have positive effects on increasing the range of motion and quality of movement of hip rotation.

The second most common cause of low back pain is the inability to anteriorly and posteriorly tilt the pelvis with a full range of motion and good stability through movement. Again, during your backswing and downswing, your pelvis requires full mobility to tilt in both directions allowing for efficient rotation at the hips and then taking stress off the lower back. This is why we commonly see dysfunction around pelvic control in players with back pain.

As mentioned above, this dysfunction can be easily remedied through structured rehabilitation exercises such as the ones in this video.

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