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Understanding Golf Back Pain

Understanding Golf Back Pain - Saratoga Spine - Back Pain from GolfingAre you suffering from golf back pain?

You’re not alone.

According to a study by McHardy, Pollard and Luo:

“The low back is the most common injury sustained whilst playing golf, and the dynamic action of the golf swing is a major contributing factor to injury.”1

Causes for Golf Back Pain

There are several reasons back pain from golfing is common:

  • The golf swing involves a whole body motion in which the spine is twisted from one side to the other, stretching muscles throughout the body.
  • Practicing the same golf swing motion over and over again makes repetitive motion injuries more likely.
  • It’s estimated that over 25% of golfers are over the age of 65. (See our article on back pain in older adults.)
  • Golfers often carry around a heavy golf bag.

How to Prevent Back Pain from Golf

Warm-up: While some may not consider golf to be a physical sport it involves a lot of complicated movements and strains on your body. As with any other type of activity where you’re straining your muscles or repeatedly moving your body in a specific motion, warm-up exercises can help minimize the chances of injury.

Have your Golf Swing Evaluated: Certain golf swing mechanics can make you more prone to golf back pain and injury. By having your golf swing evaluated by a professional you can ensure you’re not repeating motions that can be damaging to your muscles and spine. You might get the added benefit of improving your game too!

Strengthen your Core: You may hear this a lot but strengthening your body’s core muscles can reduce the strain on your spine and back, reducing your chances of injury.

Hamstring Exercises: As Amy Neighbors reports in Golf Week, hamstring muscles tend to tighten up during golfing:

“When they do this, they pull on the hips and spine, creating more pain. Hamstring stretches will alleviate some of this problem”2

Treating Back Pain from Golfing

There are several treatment options for golf back pain.  Taking an NSAID (anti-inflammatory) drug for back pain is a common place to start. Depending on the severity of your pain, back exercises may also be helpful. There are several other nonsurgical treatment options your doctor may discuss with you, like physical therapy, hot/cold treatment and electronic stimulation.

If you’re experiencing back pain from golf and think it’s time to see a doctor, call Saratoga Spine or request an appointment at our Saratoga Springs or Glens Falls, NY offices today so you can get back into the swing of things!


  1. Sports Med
  2. Golf Week
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
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