by Adam Halseth PT, DPT, SCS
Every day I see patients that question why their body hurts the way it does. Each one of them has their ideas or conspiracies as to why this is the case. Usually, it involves some sort of past injury like a herniated disc, they slept wrong three weeks ago, or just lost flexibility over the years. Often, their main complaint is that it limits their ability to golf, either with the frequency of play or ability level.
I typically ask the question, “what are you doing to make it better?” A classic response is some stretch combination they do before they play. As they begin to describe these stretches, I often find myself scratching my head, discreetly of course… It is apparent that there is a severe lack of education and awareness with the average golfer when it comes to how to prep your body to golf and how to avoid injuries.
Is your swing suffering from body pain or a limited range of motion?
To address and alleviate your aches and pains, you need to know what the root cause is. I said causing the pain, not where you feel the pain. When golfers come to see me with lower back pain, rarely is it the case that the lower back causes the pain. A vast majority of the time, you feel the pain because you are compensating in that area. You compensate because you lack in another area of your body. Take the golfer with back pain; they will typically have a rotational limitation in the hips, mid-back, or even the shoulders that forces them to move in their lower back in a way that it is not meant to do. This will cause lower back pain. However, until you improve the hip, mid-back, or shoulder limitation, you will never cure the lower back pain.
Measuring and Increasing Range of Motion with Physical Therapy
It can become tough to know exactly what will make you better. This is why I do what I do. I assess, in-depth, my patient’s abilities from a movement perspective and can give them precisely what they need to improve. I think of it as a “sniper” effect. You could do ten different exercises or stretches, and maybe 2 of them will work (shotgun approach) or learn precisely what your body can and cannot do with the help of a professional. Knowing what is working and focusing on those areas will speed recovery, increase range of motion, and improve your game. Below are three exercises you can do at home to address the most common limitations I see, mid-back mobility and hip mobility limitations. These exercises are safe to do and will start providing immediate benefits to most golfers. However, it will certainly not get you to reach your potential. If you are interested in improving your rotational power, flexibility, strength, and decreasing your pain, you need to get a detailed assessment and learn exactly what you need to improve. To watch more videos, visit our YouTube channel. 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.