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Why Your Back Hurts When Playing Golf

Jan 16, 2022

Lower back pain is the most common golf-related injury. You may experience back pain with each swing, soreness following your round, or discomfort limiting you from playing as much as you like. Typically, lower back pain worsens without a correct plan to fix it. On average, a golfer with lower back pain may take a week or two off to rest and let the pain subside. While this may be a good temporary solution, the cause for the back pain is still likely to be present, making it probable that you will experience pain again. But why is your back in so much pain?

Golf exercises for lower back pain

Believe it or not, the lower back is not typically the cause of your pain, just the source of the pain. Unfortunately, sometimes the lower back can be thought of as “the good guy gone bad.” This area tends to get overworked because other parts of your body are not doing their job. For example, our bodies are designed to rotate more through the thoracic spine (mid-back) and the hips as far as the golf swing is concerned. Therefore, if the mid-back or hips are not rotating well, the lower back will rotate more. This is a movement our back is not designed to perform and over time, will cause injuries. Many golfers who suffer from lower back pain have limitations in rotating in the mid-back and the hips. When treating this ailment, it’s best to assess the hips and mid-back first and treat that before the lower back itself. If you are suffering from lower back pain, here are a couple of exercises that you can do to improve the mobility of the mid-back and hips.

T-Spine Rotation Open Book:

  1. Lay on the right side, hips and knees bent 90 degrees.
  2. Rotate your left shoulder toward the ground as you reach back with your left arm. Your arm should follow your body. Do not extend your arm past your body.
  3. Make sure you do not let your knees come apart or off the ground.


  1. Stand close to a wall, toes straight ahead.
  2. Raise one knee up and across your body so that your pelvis rotates around the stationary leg.
  3. Try to turn your belt buck without allowing your chest and shoulders to rotate. Do 8-10 reps on each side.

If you’re experiencing lower back pain or would like help with your swing, we offer free injury assessments at our valley-wide locations. Request an appointment today or give us a call at 480.289.5502.

Adam Halseth

by Adam Halseth
PT, DPT, SCS | North Scottsdale

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