There is nothing worse than an achy back, just as a person never mind as a golfer. It hurts when you swing, it hurts when you pick up your bag and it’s still sore the day after you’ve played. If this sounds familiar, then we have just the man to help you fix this once and for all!
Introducing our golf physio Sam Matheson! Sam is a physiotherapist based at Dunham Forest Golf Club (actually, my home club!) He is a golfer himself with a solid handicap of 12. Sam has worked for many years in elite sport and spent a vast amount of time as a physio in professional rugby. He comes with a host of experience in dealing with injuries and specific movement issues. Sam has now expanded his skills into the world of golf. Not only is Sam incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to biomechanics, he’s also brilliant at connecting this to the golf swing. Hence why I often pick his brains! So, we thought there’s no one better to drag in and discuss the dreaded topic for all us golfers. Back pain! and specifically lower back pain!
I don’t think I have ever come across a golfer who hasn’t had some form of back pain or injury (including myself). It’s occupational hazard you might say nature of the game and the set up posture of a shot just screams back ache. To a certain degree this is true, but it doesn’t have to be crippling or stop you in your tracks.
Why Do I Have Back Pain?
There will be many reasons why your back could be hurting, too many to mention in fact. But one of the most common issues seen with golfers is poor control of the pelvis or the pelvis consistently tilted forwards or arched (think belt buckle pointing towards the ground and tail bone up to the sky). This means the bones of the lower spine are compressed and the musculature surrounding it are contracted all the time and massively over worked (that’s the dull ache you can feel). Coupled with that, muscles such as your Glutes, Hamstrings and your deeper core are underworked because of the pelvic position. What we need to do is reverse this, strengthen those under used areas and allow those over worked muscles to have a well-deserved break! This involves restoring your pelvis close to neutral again. Something we heavily focused on in our ‘Bring Back Your Speed’ plan.
In order to do this Sam has given us his most frequently used exercise for patients suffering with achy backs and it goes like this:
Lie flat on the ground and place your heels on a bench. Make sure your knees are at 90d.
Place a foam roller between your thighs (on your muscles not your knee joint) and give it a gentle squeeze. Next, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth to allow your ribcage to fall flat. You might feel a contraction of the side of your ribcage (Obliques) when you do this.
Dig your heels into the bench and feel your Hamstrings switch on. Slowly peel your pelvis off the ground around 1-2 inches in the air. Whilst you do this imagine your belt buckle is tilted slightly towards your chin. Control your pelvis back to the ground and repeat this process for 10 reps.
Putting It Into Practice!
Aim to practice this drill on a daily basis and fit it in across your day whenever you can. To assist you even further, Sam is offering a free 30-minute discovery call to all our golfers where he will chat through any injuries or problems you may currently have. This can be in person or online, so don’t worry if you’re not local to the area. To find out more get in touch with Sam on his email firstname.lastname@example.org We’re confident this can help you start to overcome those niggly aches and pains and spend more time on the golf course this season.
Talking of the golf course I have just returned from a weekend playing in Portugal. It’s safe to say my golf ‘was better than expected’. Although way more practice is required for me if I want to maintain my handicap this year! Meanwhile Alex has been out playing with friends and hitting it annoyingly good as always. However, our Alex vs. Nat challenge was considerably in my favour this month, so that’s evened things up a bit!