By Anne-Marie Pier, Chartered Physiotherapist
Around 40 per cent of amateur golfers sustain an injury while playing, according to a Harvard Medical School Study, the most commonly affected body parts are the back, closely followed by the elbow.
The back, especially the lumbar spine is susceptible to large amounts of stress throughout the game of golf. This can be from a number of sources including the motion of the swing and the hunched position that many amateur golfers adopt while putting. The repetitive one-sided twisting nature of the swing, which is repeated between 30 and 50 times during a game (depending on your ability) puts stress on the lumbar spine. Picking up the bag to move onto the next shot can also place stress on the lumbar spine.
Symptoms and treatment
Symptoms of problems with your lumbar spine include pain and stiffness in the lower back, muscle spasm or pain or weakness in the legs. There are some solutions that may help to rectify the problem of back pain.
In terms of technique and equipment, perhaps using a longer putter to avoid the hunched posture, using a buggy/caddy for easier transportation of clubs, using a smaller backswing, rotating the lead hip on the follow through and keeping your knees soft.
It might be an idea to work on your swing with a professional to correct any technical errors. However, acute periods of low back pain should be treated with 48 hours of rest, and then rehabilitation. It may be beneficial to visit a physiotherapist for either rehabilitation from injury or optimising function and movement to prevent injury.