Golf in Conwy, Gwynedd & Anglesey – Sports Injury – Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain in Golf

Sports injuries causing lower back pain are one of the most common golf-related sports injuries. The incidence of golf-related lower back sports injury ranges from 15% to 34% in the amateur golfer and 22% to 24% in the professional. Collectively, the incidence of lower back pain in the male golfer is 25% to 36% and 22% to 27% in the female golfer. According to various studies Chiropractors are more often sought to manage the incidence of low back pain in golf.

Low Back Pain Sports Injury Golf

A study entitled Golf-related lower back injuries: an epidemiological survey by McHardy et al., 2006 described the play characteristics of golfers who had a sports injury and hence low back pain in the course of play or practice in the previous year (12 months). In addition, common sports injury mechanisms for the back sports injury were sought to determine if factors such as age, sex, and the amount of play or practice affected the back sports injury rate. Finally, the study aimed to report the use of Chiropractors and back sports injury management among the golfers surveyed.

How do Golfers get Low Back Pain?

The golf injury literature reports the lower back to be the most common sports injured part of the body. The data collected in the McHardy et al., 2006 support this view on low back pain and sports injury. The study found that the swing was reported to be the most common injury mechanism, accounting for nearly half of all lower back sports injuries in golf. The golf injury sports literature suggests that the golf swing is the most common cause of golf related sports injury. However, little direct evidence exists to describe the exact nature of the sports injury mechanism causing lower back pain in golfers. Burdorf et al conducted a 1-year prospective study on lower back pain in novice golfers and reported risk factors for low back sports injury in golfers.

Whats causes Low Back Pain & Sports Injuries in Golf?

The present study by McHardy et al., 2006 found that the lower back sports injuries sustained by the respondents were most commonly felt during the follow-through phase of the golf swing (impact to completion of swing). From these results it appears that the follow-through phase of the golf swing is an aggravating movement and potentially a predisposing factor for a low back sports injury. It has been postulated that the body position of the follow through and contraction’s displayed by the decelerating torso muscles are significant factors in the causation of lower back injury in golfers. This finding appears to be in agreement with Sugaya et al who examined lower back pain among 282 right-handed professional golfers and found a correlation between right side back pain and the follow-through phase of the golf swing. The literature suggests that 30% of all golf injuries occur in the follow-through and around 40% of low back injuries occur in the follow-through. This study found that 41.6% of lower back injuries occurred in the follow-through.

Are we predisposed to Low Back Pain as a Sports Injury in Golf?

McHardy et al found lower back sports injury associated with golf was twice as likely to occur over a period as opposed to a single episode. This figure is lower than that reported for amateurs and professionals by Gosheger et al, who reported 91% of lumbar spine sports injuries to be due to overuse, as opposed to traumatic singular events. The differences between the studies were that the results of the present study reported changes in amateurs and not professionals, whereas Gosheger et al examined both golfing groups. The difference in the response may be due to the difference in the player characteristics between the relative proportions of amateurs and professionals in the 2 studies. In addition, the McHardy et al found those golfers that sustained a lower back injury due to golf in the previous 12 months were 3 times more likely to have had a previous history of lower back sports injury. The study performed by Gosheger et al appeared to report sports injuries sustained throughout a career.

Does too much emphasis on Sports Specific training cause Sports Injuries in Golf?

When comparing the playing and practicing habits between those injured in the lower back and those uninjured, the only significant difference seen was that the golfer who performed less practice had less risk of injury than the golfer who performed more. It may be intuitive that more actual game play would increase the risk of injury through greater participation; a round of golf takes approximately 4 hours to complete with an average of 40 to 45 full shots. This figure compares with the golfer who performs full shot practice at the driving range. In the practice scenario, a bucket of 60 balls generally takes 60 to 70 minutes to hit. Thus, there is a significant increase in the intensity of play in the golfer who performs full shot practice compared with one who performs less full shot practice; this appears to be associated with an increased injury rate.

The type of golfer who sustained low back sports injuries was more likely to have had a previous history of lower back injury and it was chronic in nature. The lower back sports injury was most likely due to the golf swing and was very likely to have occurred in the follow-through phase. Most of the injured golfers received treatment of their injury from the chiropractor. The treating practitioner should be knowledgeable of the golf swing of this popular sport to educate the patient with a history of lower back sports injury on appropriate follow through positions that are thought to predispose injury, and thus, the chance of golf-related lower back sports injury can be reduced or eliminated.

The North Wales Spine Clinic

Effective Golf is Safe Golf

If you live in Conwy, Gwynedd or Anglesey and would like a thorough examination to find out if you are predisposed to the sports injury low back pain in golf or if you have low back pain then contact our professionals at The North Wales Spine Clinic for help.

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