How can I stop back pain when I play golf?

Dr Leisa

Many people who have been either been playing golf for years, or are beginners, can usually say they’ve complained of back pain at least once, if not many more times, since they started playing. I play golf, and have felt the ache in my lower back both while paying, as well as the next day. Pro golfers are athletes. They follow strict nutrition, exercise, and recovery regimens to achieve their goals. Adopting some of their habits can help your recovery too.

What can I do before I play to help my golf game?
It starts before you even leave the house. The right nutrition and hydration is necessary to make your body respond to the physical stress you place your body under on the course. Golf involves specific muscle and mind control. You should have a light meal at least an hour before playing or hitting balls. Many players make the mistake of not eating enough before they go out onto the course or driving range. Eat a balanced meal including the macronutrients, protein, healthy fats, and some carbs. Your protein will sustain you for the duration. There’s nothing worse than getting out on the course, being hungry, and losing concentration. This can leave you open for an injury. Even lightheadedness can happen due to not eating enough. The probability of passing out, tripping, or even falling arises when you are light headed. Healthy fats help decrease inflammation, and assist in joint health. Think of healthy fats like WD-40 for the joints. Inflammation causes pain and so much more. EFAs and others will help your brain work better as well. I’ve written past articles on that. Complex carbohydrates will give you the quickest form of energy. These will decrease fatigue, and keep your concentration steady as well. Choose foods that are easily digested, as you don’t want more blood flow going to the stomach, or you’ll be drowsy by the 4th hole. Lighter foods like soups and salads work well. Drinking enough water is important. Be careful drinking reverse osmosis, which is in most bottled water and home systems today. This water has been stripped of its minerals. Electrolytes are positively charged minerals. If you don’t have balanced minerals, your body cannot make the electrolytes necessary for you to be out on the course for the duration of a game or even practicing. Natural spring water and alkaline water is best. Be cautious when taking some medications with alkaline water. Sports drinks don’t work. They’re full of sugar and salt. Sugar triggers dehydration, so why would you add it to an electrolyte formula? The goal is to hydrate, not dehydrate. I carry medical grade electrolyte sport formulas in my office. One of which, is used by the NFL and other pro sports associations.

Can taking a hot tub before I play help my range of motion?
Yes. If you have a hot tub, use it for 10-15 minutes about 60-90 minutes before you leave for the golf course. Staying in too long can make you drowsy. If you don’t have a hot tub, or just like to use your bath tub, add a few large handfuls of Epsom salts into the tub. Himalayan and Dead Sea salts are even better. Adding salt to the bath will provide the minerals, especially magnesium, to keep the muscles working properly. If you can’t take a bath before playing, at least take a 10 to 15 minute hot shower.

What is the best thing to help muscle recovery after playing golf?
The suggestions I mentioned above are important for your body to perform well on the course, as well as helping in recovery. Muscle soreness happens because of tiny micro tears in the muscles after the strain you’ve put them through. If you’re not playing in a tournament the next day, rest. Take a walk, and now apply ice to the sore areas. Ice works best if you wet a towel or wash cloth, then apply the ice over the moist towel. This will help the cold to penetrate more effectively.
Come in to my office for regular chiropractic decompression treatments. Many of my patients are great golfers, and they make sure they maintain their spine regularly. They don’t wait for an injury. Regular acupuncture treatments also help the body to recover quicker, and work at its best.

Any questions regarding my articles please email me:
Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C., Chiropractic Physician
Accurate Care Pain Relief Center
21043 N. Cave Creek Rd. #A9
Phoenix, AZ 85024