March 9, 2020
Osteopathy for Golfers
Osteopathy works to improve the biomechanics of the body and therefore allows more mobility for the golf swing itself.
All golfers wish to play pain free,but as most will attend, this is not always the case.
Despite golf’s common portrayal as a less physically demanding activity, significant physiological effort and precise neuromuscular control is required to accelerate club heads to speeds of more than 160 km/h in 1/5th of a second (Cole & Grimshaw 2016).
Recreational Golfers, Injury reasons:
1. Irregular play with associated lack of fitness and poor motor control.
2. Poor swing control due to stiffness, lack of mobility, muscle weakness & poor balance and lack of coaching.
3. Poor fitness,nutrition, or dehydration leading to fatigue over a round. This could negatively affect fine motor control leading to swing inaccuracies potentially leading to impact injuries, overuse injuries, sprains and strains.
Elite and Professional golfers:
1. Demands of creating and then slowing the speeds of powerful swings. Up to 8x body weight could be put through the spine in producing a swing (Barrentine et al 1994).
2. Repetition, 100’s of times, potentially daily.
3.Often elite golfers begun playing at a young age with an immature body, thus creating restrictive patterns, possibly tempting injury sooner.
4. Travel, 36 holes per day, nutrition, dehydration, fatigue…,etc, etc.
Additionally, our golf may not have yet got to the point of causing us injury, but may be hampering our ability to move through the swing as we wish, and no amount of lessons will remove such issues. It is very common for us to treat pelvic torsions and misaligned shoulders and rib cages and neck rotations which will all have an impact on the bodies ability to move.
Commonly Affected body sites:
The Neck (Cervical Spine)
This area is one of the most important for your golf game. Good stable mechanics through the pelvis and spine are important for the golfer’s hand-eye-to-ball co-ordination is fundamental in allowing the swing to work correctly, whether a putt or a drive. If you cant turn your head, you won’t rotate properly.
The Mid Back (Thoracic Spine)
A flexible and supple T-spine will allow for smooth swing mechanics, while restrictions will inevitably lead to poor performance and/or injury.
The ribs need to be able to expand,contract and rotate. This allows the diaphragm to move freely. Rotation can also be restricted if the muscles between the ribs, (the intercostal muscles)are tight.
The Low Back (Lumbar Spine)
Among professionals and amateur golfers, low back pain has been cited as the most common golf-related injury.
It is estimated that 25-36% of PGA professionals and 15-34% of amateurs site the low back as a common injury (Lee & Lee 2017).
Increased loads on the lumbar spine during the golf swing (up to 8 times body weight) generate extensive mechanical forces through compression,shearing, and rotational movements to the lumbar spine via rapid trunk bending and rotation (Hosea et al. 1994) which predispose the golfer to muscular strains, degenerative spine conditions, and associated risk of herniated discs.
Hips, Knees & Ankles , Elbows,Wrist, Shoulders.
Single-sided sports inevitably create different actions and forces on each side of the body, this eventually can lead to injury and pain, via ligament laxity, joint restrictions, overuse of tendons and cartilage wear. If the hips cant turn, then the low back may try to..putting it under excess strain potentially.
Osteopathic Treatment at Bridgeham
Our Osteopaths use a wide variety of techniques such as muscle energy, high velocity thrusts, stretching, deep issue massage and joint articulation to improve the structure and function of the body to return you to neutral mechanics, then, with our Pilates instructors aid, will work to remove muscular and functional imbalances that could help to keep restricted movement at bay.
The initial consultation and assessment is made with no obligation to proceed to treatment.
Book an assessment today to see whether an Osteopathic treatment could improve your game!
Links to clubs
Michael can, if appropriate, liaise directly with your golf professional in order to specifically work with your swing bio mechanics.
Michael is a registered Osteopath here at Brigdeham Clinic. He has been a golfer since the age of 12, reaching a handicap of 5 and has in depth sporting knowledge having studied Sports Science at Loughborough University prior to becoming a PE teacher in his previous career, before finding Osteopathy.
Barrentine, S.W, Fleisig, G.S.,Johnson, H., Woolley, T.W., 1994. Ground reaction forces and torques of professional and amateur golfers. Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. London: E& FN Spon. pp. 33–39.
Cole, M.H. & Grimshaw, P.N., 2016.The Biomechanics of the Modern Golf Swing: Implications for Lower Back Injuries. Sports Medicine, 46(3), pp. 339-351.
Hosea, T.M., Gatt, C.J., Gertner, E.,1994. Bio mechanical analysis of the golfer's back. In: Stover CN, McCarroll JR,Mallon WJ, eds. Feeling up to Par:medicine from tee to green. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company; 1994. pp. 97–108.
Lee, Y.S. & Lee, S.H., 2017. Golf-related Spine and Lower Extremity Injury. Korean Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(1),pp.1-4.