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A Birdie Told Me: Golfers Benefit from Chiropractic Care

By Dr. Molly Casey

Senior male golfer carrying golf clubs

Golf is a favorite pastime for many, maybe even you. This time of year, patients are frequently ramping up their chiropractic care in hopes of ramping up their mobility, flexibility and ultimately their golf game and overall health. Here is a look at some common injuries among golfers and ways to avoid them.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

A good portion of golfing injuries are simply from repetitive motions. New golfers are susceptible to neck pain as a result of muscles spasms. This often occurs because necks need to stabilize during the full rotational moves common to golf but not common to such a degree in other activities of daily living. Because the neck isn’t used to this demand, the muscles become rigid and spasm. Back pain is common as the rotational forces upon the spine and the associated muscles irritates the area. In addition to those forces, golfers spend hours bent over and looking down at the ball, their club, etc. Without a proper stance, the strain is even greater.

Hip Pain

Hip joints are large and regularly deal with significant loading stresses. In golf, they undergo significant pivoting and rotational movements. A great deal of control is required in motions of flexion/extension and adduction (moving a body part toward the body’s midline). This requires adequate gluteal and adductor muscle strength and proper muscle firing. These are commonly decreased among those who sit for long periods of time, such as an out-of-shape office worker who loves golf on the weekends; this is not a great mix unless otherwise fit.

Regular chiropractic care for the spine and hip joints provide optimal range of motion for the spine and hip joints, giving those who are avid or weekend golfers the best opportunity to avoid hip injuries while playing.

Ankle & Foot Pain

The golf game works the entirety of the body. Even the feet and ankles. During the swing, the body acts as a whip and the feet are pushing against the ground. Each foot moves differently. Proper full ankle range of motion is required as the back foot must pronate (roll in) farther than the front foot. Ankle sprains and subluxations (restrictions) of the bones in the foot can commonly occur due to the action in the swing.

Chiropractic manipulation of the ankle/foot help ensure the greatest ability to properly withstand the force of pushing against the ground and with full, smooth movement throughout the motion, thereby decreasing the chances of injury.

Injury Prevention

To get the most out of a golf game and prevent injuries, proper joint range of motion is necessary. Proper muscle firing is needed for controlled motions and for getting the full performance from your muscles. Chiropractic care restores motion to joints moving improperly and allows the nervous system to function optimally, which affects the patterns of muscle firing. Chiropractic is a necessity for anyone looking to get the most out of their game and decrease chances of potential injury.

Stretch, because it does a body good. Warm up stretching minimally the major muscles of both the upper and lower extremities as well as doing some rotational movements of the spine.

Drink a lot of water because the body requires it for proper function. For overall health, the best guide is to drink, in ounces, half your body weight in in pounds.

Golf is a great sport enjoyed by millions. It’s a fantastic way to exercise, but the explosive movements of the swing can be perilous. Before you hit the links this summer, get the most out of your game by visiting a local chiropractor -- routine chiropractic care can help improve your game and your health.

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