Is this causing your back pain?

It's the most common 'pain/injury' complaints of golfers. And it can be super-frustrating for those who suffer regular bouts of it …

It restricts your ability to practice and to play. To get the 'repetitions' in that you need to improve ...

You guessed it. It's lower back pain.


Now there is no question that there are some high velocity rotary forces that are applied to the lumbar spine during the golf swing. 

And as a result even the world's best players with solid mechanics can develop lower back issues from time to time.

But if you are a club golfer who suffers from lower back pain what are some of the simple things you can check physically in an effort to find the cause and work your way back to pain-free-golf …???

After all, lower back pain can often be quite worrying and emotionally stressful for the sufferer.

Often, your first thought is: "Something irreversible is wrong with my spine!?" …

Usually however, that is just not the case …

I love this quote from Dr Greg Rose from TPI:
 

"...Remember this rule, "If it looks like a dog, smells like a dog, it's usually a dog." In other words, there could be a million things wrong with your back, but they're usually a couple of things that create the majority of lower back discomfort in golfers. These must be ruled out first before we start looking for a rare diagnosis…" 



One of those most common causes of lower back discomfort in golfers is thelower crossed syndrome or 'S-Posture'.


When I first learned about 'S-Posture', I must admit it all came as quite a surprise to me …

That 'athletic', butt out, lower back arched position is adopted by many people as 'good posture' ...

And its the way us PT-types desperately try to get clients to Squat and Dead-Lift because it's the safest way to lift weights, without causing back injury ...

So I was surprised to learn that this was not the position that we want golfers in at address ...

(or though-out the swing for that matter) ...

Because it just doesn't rotate well ...

And it 'switches off' or 'de-activates' your Abdominals and your Glutes - the so-called King and Queen of the golf swing ...

And its generally going to create more wear and tear on the structures of your lower back ...


Did a little deeper and you can find 2 groups of people with S-Posture ...

1 -   Group One: has just adopted that position at address out of habit or previous coaching ....

2 -   Group 2: The second (trickier to help) group has a Lower Crossed Syndrome muscle imbalance that forces them into that excessively arched lower back position ...


Here is the Lower Crossed Syndrome muscle imbalance in a nut-shell:

  • Tight hip flexors & quads
  • Tight lower back muscles
  • Weak glutes
  • Weak lower abdominals
  • Places excessive stress on the structures of the lower back
  • And has probably been brought about by prolonged sitting ...


Weak Abdominals and Glutes leading to a stressful position in the lower back that can cause injury ...

Not good if you're a Golfer ...!!!!


Now, self-diagnosis time ...

If you have some video of your own golf swing from down-the-line, observe the position of your lower back - does it have an excessive inward curvature ...?

As I mentioned above, some golfers (Group 1) put themselves into this position on purpose because they have heard it's good to stick their butt out at set up ...

Unfortunately, if you arch your lower back to stick your butt out at set up, you are also subjecting your lower back to potential injury ...



Checked yourself on video? Great ...Next, try this Pelvic Tilt TEST:

The Pelvic Tilt TEST


Group 1 - should find this test OK to perform with some practice ...

Group 2 - will struggle to arch their backs during the test because they are already arched. Flattening their backs will be jerky and uncoordinated as they attempt to get the right muscles firing ...


Enough with the technicalities and doom and gloom ...

What's the fix ...???

Group 1 - You can actually stick your butt out at set up without arching your back if you just hinge from your hips and keep your spine in a neutral stable posture ...

Obviously, this requires practice, awareness, good core strength and proper stabilisation in the lumbar spine, and may not be something you can perform right away ...

Group 2 - Work on the instruction for the Group 1 above and then add in:

  • stretches to lengthen your hip flexors and lower back muscles
  • exercises to develop strength in the (lower) abdominals and glute muscles.
  • once these muscle imbalances are corrected, work on developing strength in a stable neutral lower back posture

 

 

Need my help with this? Head here:

Click here to request a complimentary Golf Fitness Consultation with Andrew. (In-person or via Skype. You choose.)


Cheers

Andrew "S Posture Recoverer" Ransom, The Golf Fitness PT

Andrew RansomComment