Four Stretches That Help Alleviate Back Pain from Golfing
In many ways, golfing can be very relaxing. Getting a day away from work and other responsibilities, to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the challenges of the game, is a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve quality of life. With that said, the repetitive motion of the golf swing can put a strain on your body, with one of the most common results being lower back pain.
Having a nagging ache in your lower back can ruin the enjoyment of golf and impair your effectiveness as a golfer. Irritatingly, this pain often comes and goes, which makes it harder to rely on your skills when you tee off in the morning. If you are a golfer who experiences back pain regularly, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do before you take the course to loosen up your back and alleviate or prevent illness.
Here are four stretches that might help you pave the way for a better and more enjoyable round of golf.
The “dead bug” stretch
If you are suffering from lower back pain, your instinctual response is probably either to do a bend or a twist. Both actions can stretch the muscles in the back to ease any soreness there. However, if you do these exercises too much—or if you start with them in the morning, when you are stiff and sore—your efforts can strain the back muscles further. The so-called “dead bug” stretch is a better place to start. Lay down on your back and raise your legs and your butt into the air mimicking a seated position. This stretch takes the strain off the lower back, aligns the body, and strengthens your core muscles—all things that will help with back pain and back strength overall.
The “touch your toes” stretch
Bend and twist stretches can still be useful to loosen the lower back, provided you don’t overuse them or strain yourself too much. For this one, stand as you would when about to swing a club, only without a club in your hands. Swing your arms backward and up—as if you are throwing a ball—and use that motion to propel yourself into a bend to touch your toes. This stretch is primarily used to build flexibility in the legs, but it can be useful for loosening up the back muscles as well.
The “openers” stretch
An old favorite among golfers, this stretch keeps the lower back flexible while also getting you warmed up for a killer backswing. Lay on your left side with your legs and knees bent at 90 degrees. Your right knee should be on top of the left. Extend both arms outward with your hands together. Slowly, raise your right arm and make a motion as if you are an opening door. The goal of the stretch is to finish with the right arm laying on the floor opposite your left arm, without adjusting the position of the rest of your body. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds for best results.
If you’ve ever tried yoga before, know that it’s a powerful means of building strength, flexibility, and mental calm. It’s a good thing to explore for any athlete, not just golfers. Even if you don’t want to do a full yoga routine, though; trying a few yoga poses for your lower back will loosen your muscles and alleviate your pain.
An injured or aching back turns golf from a relaxing hobby to a four-hour marathon of pain. If you have been suffering from lower back pain and it’s putting a damper on your good time, try the exercises above to fix the problem.