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A back injury can be devastating to a golfer as well as to the people around him. Not only will you not be able to play golf, but you will usually find it difficult to perform all of your daily duties and activities.
This is particularly true if you have a job that requires heavy lifting or working on your feet all day. Therefore, if you have had a back injury, it is important that you do not rush with your return to golf or any other activity. That is why we created this article to show you how you can safely return to playing golf after a back injury.
When Can I Play Golf After a Back Injury?
A good rule of thumb is to take two weeks off from all activities and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time. In the case of back injuries, we usually recommend gradually increasing the intensity and duration of activity before returning to golf.
Also, if you have a golf-related injury, it is extremely important that you do not return to play until the pain has completely subsided. This process usually takes about two weeks and involves light stretching, core strengthening exercises, and mild activity.
The reason for this is that during the first few days of returning to golf after a back injury, your muscles will be very sore and tight. This will make it very difficult to swing properly or at all. If you try playing before this time has passed, you will almost certainly re-injure yourself.
If your doctor has given you the go-signal to return to golf after a back injury, you can expect to feel the effects of your injury for quite some time. Most back injuries occur between the ages of 30 and 50, so they will likely affect you for at least another 20 years.
These injuries tend to result in stiff muscles, limited flexibility, and soreness when doing any activity that involves bending or lifting. While these limitations are not ideal for any golfer, they are especially problematic for those who like to play the game aggressively or on hilly terrain. For this reason, it is particularly important that you do not return until your pain has completely subsided.
The good news is that most cases of back injuries do get better with time and gentler treatment methods.
If you have had a back injury, it is important that you follow the instructions of your doctor. These are just general guidelines that should help you return to play soon.
Most important is taking your time and getting the best advice. If possible, see a sports physiologist or physical therapist because they will have the most knowledge and experience with this sort of injury.
Golf Rehabilitation Exercises
Here are some golf rehabilitation exercises you can do at home to get you ready to play golf again after a back injury. Remember, these exercises are only for as long as your pain level is acceptable. When you are ready to resume normal activities or golf, you should consult with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.
It is also very important that during this time, while recovering from a back injury that you learn how to breathe properly for swinging. To do this, stand in front of a mirror and put your hands on your hips.
Next, turn your hips and shoulders as if you are taking a backswing. Do this slowly and pay attention to your posture while doing it. You should be able to turn with very little movement occurring in the upper part of your body.
This is because you should be rotating from the hips down. If you do not have very good hip rotation, then try sitting on the ground with legs crossed and stretch them out straight in front of you with knees bent at 90 degrees.
Then place both hands underneath the ankle so that it acts as a fulcrum for pushing against it like an exercise ball. Next, try twisting your hips and waist as far as you can but keep the upper torso still. Keep doing this until you can rotate your hips well.
After this, do the same thing with the arms so that they go to full extension on the backswing while keeping the hips rotated. This is very important for getting a good backswing because it will help you get a good body turn and allow you to keep your weight on your front foot through impact.
Lower Back Stretches
Lower back stretches are also very important for back injury prevention and general fitness. To do this, stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Next, lean forward with your chest out and place both hands on your knees.
Then, bend forward from the waist while keeping your back straight until you feel a good stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This can also be done lying down by placing a pillow or small rolled-up towel underneath your lower back while lying on your stomach.
Finally, it is important to have strong quadriceps because they will allow you to keep more weight over your front foot while swinging, which will minimize lower back stress and help you get through impact.
To do this, lie on your stomach with both legs straight out in front of you while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Then, raise one leg straight up with the foot flexed so that the knee is at 90 degrees.
Try to keep the other leg relaxed and pointed straight on the ground. Next, try to touch your forehead or chin to your lifted foot while keeping the opposite hand on the ground below it.
Hold this for 10 seconds, and then do the same thing on the other side. Another exercise involves standing straight up with both legs and feet straight out in front of you while keeping them flat on the ground.
Then, raise one leg at a time as far as you can reach while keeping your knee locked in place and lowering the opposite heel toward the ground but not touching it. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat with another side.
Here are some golf-specific strengthening and stretching exercises by Jennifer Gatz, M.A., Exercise Physiologist, you can also do at home to improve your overall general fitness.
Although there are many things that you can do to help yourself heal and allow a safe return to golf after a back injury, many of these measures involve taking it easy and listening to your body. After all, this is what caused the initial problem in the first place.
To learn more about the Golf Rehabilitation Exercises, watch this video:
10 Things To Remember Before Going Back To The Golf Course
If you think you’re ready to get back on the greens, here are a few tips to help you get back into the swing of things:
If you have a muscle or ligament strain, it is important that you stretch before and after playing.
2) Back Brace
We recommend always wearing an athletic brace when playing golf. This will help stabilize your core muscles and prevent further injury.
Always wear golf shoes that have sturdy soles to provide support for your ankles. If you choose to wear spikes, make sure they fit snugly on your feet since loose spikes can cause a variety of injuries, including blisters and pulled tendons.
4) Walk The Course
Most people jump into playing golf on the very first day after their injury. This is a big mistake.
5) Watch Videos
Before playing, seek out videos of professional golfers and watch how they swing to see if they follow proper form. If not, try to mimic them as closely as possible to avoid re-injuring yourself.
6) Lubricate The Joints
If you are returning to golf after an injury, it is important to keep your joints well-lubricated to prevent pain and further injury. We recommend using a topical pain reliever that contains menthol.
7) Take Time Off
If you’re having trouble getting back into playing, don’t rush yourself. It is better to take more time off than risk re-injuring yourself.
8) Seek Medical Attention
If you are planning on returning to golf after an injury, it is best that you consult your physician before heading out on the links and invest in a support belt or brace, as previously mentioned.
9) Play 18 Holes
If you are planning to play for an extended period of time, it’s best to take frequent breaks from your game. It’s best to play in small increments (30 minutes) rather than one big session because this will reduce the stress on your joints.
Dehydration can cause major problems on the golf course and can lead to injury.
Now that we‘ve covered the basics of injury prevention and treatment, it is time to put everything you learned into action! As always, if you are experiencing any pain while playing golf, feel free to check out our short blog on common injuries in golf.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for future blogs where we will be discussing more advanced golf topics such as nutrition and biomechanics.