Golfers did you know that your low back pain can be coming from a restriction in your opposite shoulder?
Your back hurts after playing a round of golf. A very common scenario, I must admit.
One of my patients has chronic low back pain, is an avid golfer and has a sedentary job. Most activities are pain free except when she plays a long round of golf. After which she is sore for a couple of days.
A swing evaluation revealed that during the follow through she had difficulty rotating her torso to the left. So she compensated through her low back, which took the brunt of the rotation.
Why did she have this difficulty? Was there a restriction in her thoracic spine (mid back, thorax)? Was there a restriction in her left or right shoulder? Were her hips not rotating during the weight shift?
The shoulder, thorax, and the hips as well as the feet are all joints that rotate. As you can see from the above photo, when this golfer is rotating to the left, both shoulders and forearms are rotating as well, in addition to his thoracic spine (torso), hips and feet.
My physical therapy evaluation revealed that she actually had decreased internal rotation of her right shoulder, which resulted in a decreased cross body motion of her right arm. Put simply, she could not rotate her right shoulder across her body far enough so the low back did it instead.
She lost distance and speed because of this. Not what a golfer wants to hear!
Treating her low back would not have made a difference in her pain in the long run. It certainly won’t help her golf game.
You need to find the primary source of the problem and get it treated. In her case it was her right shoulder. Regaining her range of motion and her lost mobility as well as training movement patterns similar to the golf swing were the key.
The message here is : think out of the box and look up or down the kinetic chain.
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