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Posted on 02 August 2016 by Liam Rice
Tags: Back Pain, Pain Relief, Sport

Improve your swing with chiropractic care!

Although professional golfers have made huge improvements in distance, ball control and scoring averages over the past 30 years and equipment technology has improved as much as it has, the average golf handicap has not changed. Successful pros look after their bodies and that makes all the difference.

They spend countless hours in the gym and they're nutritionally superior to their predecessors; the John Daly or Ian Woosnam is a very rare look nowadays! The likes of Rory McIlroy are visibly trained athletes and his most recent advert on TV showed him training in the gym, and being adjusted by his Chiropractor in preparation for the Masters. Tiger was one of the first players to use physical prowess to his advantage; with the help of his Chiropractor, who he frequently acknowledged, he helped himself to 14 major championships. His aggression and power really changed the modern game and sparked the interest of many youngsters in the game as well. However, this aggressive swing finally caught up him and he is now still battling injury despite all the help that he gets.

Typical golfing injuries

Because it is an ipsilateral sport, (even tennis players have a back hand) increased practice and play will cause the same stress over and over without the antagonist muscle working to counter it. This can lead to the following likely injuries for a right handed golfer:

  • Left neck hypermobility/sprain
  • Left shoulder external rotation decrease.
  • Winging Left Scapular (but often both sides)
  • Restricted Thoracic rotation
  • Left hip internal rotation restriction (hip capsule and Adductor Magnus)
  • Left wrist injuries (should avoid excessive practice on hard mats)
  • Left Ankle restrictions and poor feet mechanics.
  • And of course golfers elbow, particularly if you have a steep swing or spend a lot of time in bunkers!

When I play more regularly in the summer months, I ensure that I get weekly treatment on my left Pelvis and elbows (which are already under pressure with work) to prevent injury from the repetitive nature of the swing. I also work on my thoracic rotation in the gym twice a week to ensure my swing is as flexible as it can be and the stiffness doesn't start to impact my posture. So do ask your chiropractor for these exercises to complement your adjustments. 

In our Nailsea Clinic we see a high amount of amateur golfers. We are lucky to have some fantastic courses nearby including Bristol&Clifton, Long Ashton (where Chris Wood is a member), Tall Pines and Mendip Spring. There's also Tickenham Golf Club that provides opportunities for those taking up the game or honing their short game. Of course one of our goals is to treat current injuries, as well as working to prevent them in the first place, but equally important is to help golfers and sports players to perform at their best and enjoy their beloved hobby. One of our patients at Willow wrote this about his experience with Chiropractic:

"Being a keen golfer, I was playing 3 times a week until suffering back pains meant I could only manage 9 holes a week and then would for days after. After 6 appointments at Willow, I am now back playing regularly and my handicap has dropped to 9 from 11." Rob
 

Posture

Like most parts of life posture is extremely important in golf. Not only do we want to look good and have an aesthetically pleasing swing, a correct posture will also give you a better mechanical advantage and reduce strain on certain parts of the body. Here at Willow we use the latest technology to analyse our patients posture and see where there's room for improvement. Once these areas are identified, specific adjustments and exercise regimes can be utilised to improve posture and therefore have a better mechanical advantage. This will result in more power (distance) and a more consistent swing, resulting in improved consistency. A slumped posture will restrict mid back (thoracic restriction), produce less shoulder rotation and put more strain on the lower back. Here’s what Jordan Spieth says about his chiropractor;

"Dr. Van Biezen is an important member of my team, and thanks to his care, my all-time dream of winning the Masters Tournament has now become reality" Jordan Spieth

We can't promise you a major championship like Jordan's Spieth's chiropractor Dr Van Biezen, but with the correct adjustments, posture and exercise regime you should find that your game goes from strength-to-strength, provided you don't 3 putt of course! 

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