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I've Finally Surrendered - Golf is Bad For the Back


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My back issues come and go, and I've never really had any super chronic condition, but I've ultimately surmised that the angles and motion of the downswing are not natural, and it all forces the lower spine into angles and rotation it was never meant to perform.

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Wouldn't disagree, all fun things eventually are bad for you cigars, bourbon, etc. Modern medicine does fine things, best of luck.

Im a mad golfer, can easily hit 100+ balls a day and at one point was doing that almost daily for months on end, never once had a sore back. Then I had a friend try to force me into a certain swing pa

I don’t think that golf has to be a terrible thing for backs, for people who don’t have a genetic pre-disposition or what-not.  At my next birthday I will be 77.  I am normally about a 5, I have an oc

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One only needs to look no further than tour impact photos, and at the severe lower back curvature created by clearing of the hips, all while maintaining spine angle. 

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Depends on your swing I guess. I can have a very sore back from other activities and golf makes it feel better. Never had my back be sore from golf either.

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As a long time bad back sufferer I can attest that the golf swing isn't the best thing for it.  At times I can be in horrible pain when swinging and it always takes me a lot of time to loosen up and allow all the parts to move/ turn correctly.  One thing that really helps is building up your core with stretching, etc. and that tends to stabilize your back and prevent a lot of the pain that can come from swinging a golf club.  With the Covid problems and gyms closed I've noticed that I really need to get back to stretching or I get sore very quickly in golf.  Be careful with your swing and your back as it can lead to very sore and painful conditions such as sciatica or worse and they are very painful.

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Oddly enough I can hit 2 large buckets with a full swing without issue but 90 minutes of pitching and chipping tends to get my back a little out of whack (just a little stiff for the evening) but always fine the next day.

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Never had a back issue and I hit at least 200+ balls each and every day, 7 days a week, for 15 years.  Less on rainy days...lol   But I stretched daily,  kept in good shape especially with rotational exercises,  and made sure ventures into new techniques were well matched and thought out beforehand.   

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Many golfers are overweight and out of shape . Those facts combined with swings that place too much rotational pressure on the lumbar spine , instead of the thoracic spine are a  recipe for problems

Some suggestions

1. Lose weight 

2.Do Yoga stretching and Palates strengthening exercises .

3.Completely stop hitting off of mats if possible. If grass is unavailable, tee up the ball to minimize the shock of hitting the concrete or macadam  underneath the mats

4.Adopt a swing , which minimizes pressure placed on the lumbar(lower) spine .The swing taught by Mr Ballard has this reputation. Don’t be afraid to flare your feet out , especially the lead foot. Although flaring the rear foot is not  biomechanically the most efficient method to load the rear foot, it will place less torque on the lumbar spine.

Dont be afraid of letting the lead heel come slightly off of the ground in your backswing, even if most current pros do not do so. 

Trying to imitate the swings of young  touring pros is a recipe for potential problems unless you have similar mobility and core strength.

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My back gets sore from golf and I have 3 herniated discs in my back(not golf related).  My pain management doc did say that golf is bad for my back and that I should limit how much I play and practice.  Sorry doc, but no can do.  🤣

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I have come to learn back pain & issues is not just because of golf

 

It is more wholistic. It’s how you sit, walk and everything. In my case since COVID I work from home. I bought an office stool that I thought was decent from Amazon. It felt comfortable but I SLOWLY started experience sciatic pains to a point where I could not even sit in my car. I could not figure out why. As well, at that same time I also changed golf swing to Todd Graves one plane swing to save my back. Was it my golf swing? 

 

I started researching back pains & using inversion table. I felt it was lower hip. I could not even walk more than 300 yards without pain. It felt like my hip or psoas muscle group. Then one night it clicked - what’s really changed ? I’ve been golfing all along, some soreness but never this bad - it’s the stool

 

Once I tossed it out & went back to my regular chair. Worked on improving my posture sitting & standing (Gokhale) & using Mark Wildmans hip mobility exercises - OMG!!! 
 

it’s coming back to normal but there is some residual tightness deep in my hip, lower back, butt muscle groups. At least now I can sit in my car without pain, walk a mile. I think my verts are fine & I can swing well & play golf. Wildmans hip mobility is amazing for my lower back to keep it stretched 

 

So don’t give up. Perhaps step back, evaluate your body & it may not be your golf swing. Golf is too much fun to just walk away...

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2 hours ago, phizzy30 said:

My back gets sore from golf and I have 3 herniated discs in my back(not golf related).  My pain management doc did say that golf is bad for my back and that I should limit how much I play and practice.  Sorry doc, but no can do.  🤣

 

Luckily my GP is a low handicap golfer so he understands my needs.

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Well for what it is worth here is my thread on MAT treatments which have changed my life:

Also I recommend using an arm swing such as the Jim Venetos method or Larry Rinker's upper core swing.  I am using my own version of the Venetos swing right now and I can practice and play every day without much problem. 

 

If I was trying to use the biomechanically correct body swing that I tried to learn from an excellent instructor I would not be doing so well.  I simply could not learn to swing correctly and swinging incorrectly in that manner is a definite problem for my lower back.  The few times that I would get that swing right I could see that it worked really well and did not hurt but I just could not hang on to it.  Failure as a student possibly a result of ingraining incorrect movements for 55 years... 

 

LOL that bit of whining done I can say that I am very happy with my current swing and have no plans to ever change it!

 

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12 minutes ago, torbill said:

I am still at it, chomping at the bit to make my tee time tomorrow.  

 

That's it, keep that blood flowing.

 

16 minutes ago, torbill said:

Is it possible that I have bad discs or other structural anomalies in my back?  Who knows?  I don’t want them to look and I don’t want know, because whatever is back there isn’t a problem.   

 

LOL.  Love it.

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On 1/13/2021 at 3:05 AM, A.Princey said:

My back issues come and go, and I've never really had any super chronic condition, but I've ultimately surmised that the angles and motion of the downswing are not natural, and it all forces the lower spine into angles and rotation it was never meant to perform.


The Moe Norman swing let me eliminate back pain and keep playing.  That was 16 years ago.  I still use it.  Occasionally I’ll get enthused about a conventional swing.  One range session and a sore back later, I’m back to my faithful and pain free Moe swing.

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23 hours ago, Zitlow said:

Some players try to create torque by limiting their hip movement which I don't think is great for the back. Keeping their feet locked to the ground isn't great. 

 

Trying to spin on an invisible axis is not so good either. You've never seen a pitcher step to 2nd base while throwing to the catcher. 

 

 

lefty talked about this with the front foot kicking out slightly with the driver keeping pressure off the knee and also the rest of the body.

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I have drastically changed my golf swing over the last 5 to 7 years to accommodate for horrible back issues. But now even my new swing causes me major problems during the cool months here in Southern California.

 

Just had an outpatient procedure today: an epidural steroid injection in my lumbar spine. I just can't imagine not playing golf…

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11 hours ago, Obee said:

I have drastically changed my golf swing over the last 5 to 7 years to accommodate for horrible back issues. But now even my new swing causes me major problems during the cool months here in Southern California.

 

Just had an outpatient procedure today: an epidural steroid injection in my lumbar spine. I just can't imagine not playing golf…

That procedure was a life changer for me, I had 2 epidural steroid injections into L4/L5 in 2018 and it has given me my life back. I could not sleep, sit in a car or a chair or stay "still" for more than about 10 minutes for almost 4 years. I did PT, core exercise, back specific exercises, TENS therapy, and at least a dozen other things with only minor, temporary relief. Golf wasn't even a consideration at that point because life was hard enough to get thru the day without lashing out at family/friends/coworkers...

 

I hope it works for you as well as it has for me, I've been back at the game ever since and am looking forward to some extended range time today and 18 on Sunday!

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1 hour ago, Long_Left said:

That procedure was a life changer for me, I had 2 epidural steroid injections into L4/L5 in 2018 and it has given me my life back. I could not sleep, sit in a car or a chair or stay "still" for more than about 10 minutes for almost 4 years. I did PT, core exercise, back specific exercises, TENS therapy, and at least a dozen other things with only minor, temporary relief. Golf wasn't even a consideration at that point because life was hard enough to get thru the day without lashing out at family/friends/coworkers...

 

I hope it works for you as well as it has for me, I've been back at the game ever since and am looking forward to some extended range time today and 18 on Sunday!


Dude, that is great to hear.

 

I had the injection yesterday, and I am already pain-free this morning. Crazy. Doctor said I could golf today, no problem. Going to give it a go. 🙂

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16 hours ago, Snowman9000 said:


The Moe Norman swing let me eliminate back pain and keep playing.  That was 16 years ago.  I still use it.  Occasionally I’ll get enthused about a conventional swing.  One range session and a sore back later, I’m back to my faithful and pain free Moe swing.


Same here, as I am subscribed to Clay Ballard I feel like I want to go back but I reminded myself that rotational swing really is not body friendly to me even before my back issues. I was hurting for 3 days after 1 crappy round of golf with his Topspeed swing. Ugh.

Don Trahans PPGS vertical swing worked a long while but I had spacing issues. His swing does eliminate a lot of hip rotation since he uses outward knee pressure to resist turning & using arms as power. Todd is similar but better for spacing due to its nature. Like you, seems back friendly but time will tell. For me since it’s still very new to me 

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On 1/15/2021 at 9:28 AM, Long_Left said:

I got on a plane for a golf trip 48 hours after my second shot 🙂

I had the injection on Thursday and played golf on Friday and today. I am mostly pain-free. Shot a couple 74s in tough windy conditions, and I've been shooting 78 to 82. Was hitting driver  210 and GW 80 yards. Flew a GW 105 today, which is about what I should hit it when I'm healthy.

 

So pleased. Feel like I might be able to compete regionally and nationally as a senior, as long as I get these shots on the semi regular.

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