Hi this is Dr. Scott Lally with Lally Chiropractic and the golf season is in full swing! So how is your golf game these days? Well as my Grandfather use to say my game is above par….. That is a joke for all you non golfers. As you can tell I cannot give you any golf lessons but I can give you 4 safety tips to help stay injury free.
Tip 1) ALWAYS warm up before you play. This goes for any sport or recreational activity for that matter. For golfers it’s important to gently start with swinging the golf club perhaps getting to the course early and going to the driving range. Gently stretching is the other component to the warm up. Stretch the spine while standing with rotation, lateral bending and extension. Avoid bending over and touching the toes because this compresses the spine and since most injuries occur in flexion it generally is not a good idea. If you can’t get to the course early then take the opportunity to warm up / stretch before each hole and in between strokes to gently get the body moving.
Tip 2) ACTIVATE the core muscles of the spine before you swing. This means to brace or flex your abdominal muscles in the front which in turn flexes the back muscles in the posterior spine. Bracing the spine muscles helps support the back through the swing and ultimately gives you more power generating club speed. The other often overlooked component to activating the core muscles is learning to properly breathe while flexing. There are many different ways to breathe. I recommend breathing with your diaphragm through your nose and out your mouth. As you breathe in your diaphragm (stomach) should expand and then contract as you breathe out like a balloon. Properly breathing and not holding your breath while bracing the muscles decompresses the spine preventing injury. Plus it oxygenates the body and lowers the heart rate calming you down especially if you slice one into the pond!
Tip 3) HYDRATION; It is recommended that you drink in ounces per day half your body weight so if you are a 200 pound male then you should drink 100 ounces of fluids per day. This may seem like a lot but since golf is an exercise and it is often hot outside this is important. Staying hydrated before, during and after exercise helps prevent injury and speeds recovery. If you are dehydrated before golfing it is already too late and your body will fatigue quicker. Water is always best! Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are diuretics and actually will DEHYDRATE you.
Tip 4) STOP SWINGING SO HARD!!! Let’s face it for most of us the PGA tour is not in our future…. Concentrate on being relaxed, breathing and swinging nice and easy.
Hope this helps your golf game and prevents injuries. However, if your back hurts while out their hitting the lynx remember the five most dangerous words; Maybe It Will Go Away! And then give me a call. :)
Scott Lally, DC