Learn how to protect your back, hips and knees while enjoying your favorite game
Golf, it’s a beautiful, challenging and frustrating game. You compete against your group, the course, and, most of all, yourself. To play well you need nerve, patience and dedication to learning and practicing proper technique.
But proper technique is certainly not innate, and the time it takes to master can create some long-term problems for our joints. Thanks to the motions involved in playing well, even the best form can cause lower back pain, joint pain and other symptoms of degenerative disease. In this article we will look at the ways golf can impact our hips, knees and lower back, common treatments for golf-related joint pain, and better options that allow us to enjoy the beautiful game pain-free.
How Golf Causes Lower Back Pain
Over three decades of treating patients in pain, lower back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear from golfers. That’s not surprising, given that about one-in-four golfers develop lower back pain that flares up during or after every round. Many more regular golfers suffer from occasional pain.
Popular opinion argues that avoiding back pain while playing golf comes down to proper technique. Not necessarily. While good form does help, it might surprise you to know that the percentage of tour-participating golf pros with frequent to chronic lower back pain is very similar to those of us who still struggle with a consistent swing.
Why does golf cause so much back pain? There’s a two-part answer to that question. First, because the specific motions involved in a proper golf swing add strain to our lower back. That strain can lead to:
● Muscle or ligament sprains
● Stress fractures caused by rapid rotation of the spine
● Spinal disc injury
Also, because of the tendency to compensate when we have pain in other areas, lower back pain can cause injury to other joints and muscle groups. Essentially, if our backs hurt, we tend to use other muscles and joints to try to play through the pain. This means lingering lower back pain can lead to long-term wear and tear, not just on our backs, but in other joints as well.
How Golf Can Cause Hip Pain
While back pain is one of the most common medical complaints related to golf, the game can also take a toll on your hips. The mechanics of the golf swing can lead to repetitive stress, which may damage hip cartilage. Over time, this wear and tear can diminish hip cartilage, leading to limited hip joint function, hip pain and weakness.
While practicing a better stance can help, and a smoother swing may relieve some of the pressure on your hip joints, even the most proper form can cause repetitive stress injury in your hip joints.
Golf’s Impact on Hinge Joints
As hinge joints, our elbows and knees are not designed to accommodate the rotating motion of the golf swing. Because of this, injury to the bones, muscles and ligaments in the knees and elbows is common. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to Osteoarthritis in the knee and elbow joints.
Joint stress or overuse is another golf related concern for our hinge joints. Without sufficient rest after exertion, joints develop inflammation, leading to a condition called Tendonitis.
Another stress-related joint condition, Medial Epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), is caused by overexertion of the muscles necessary to execute a proper swing. This condition can be very painful, with symptoms usually beginning near the bony bump on the elbow and radiating down into the forearm.
Golf and Shoulder Injuries
Another common consequence of the repetitive stress caused by the golf swing is damage to your Rotator Cuff. The Rotator Cuff is the collective description of the four muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. This group of muscles and tendons holds the bones of the shoulder in place while allowing the joint to function properly.
The risk of injury to any of the muscles or tendons of the shoulder joint increase with age and use. As with hip joints, the curving, twisting motion of the golf swing can add pressure to the shoulder joint, increasing the risk of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and injury to the Rotator Cuff.
Treating Common Golf Injuries
Just as Tendonitis can sometimes be avoided by giving your joints sufficient rest after exertion, minor injuries or the early stages of joint disease may be treated with rest and, if it is safe for you, over-the-counter pain medication. Additional conservative treatments may include physical therapy or steroid injections.
For patients with advanced joint disease, some doctors may suggest surgery. While, in some cases, surgery offers the best treatment outcome, all surgical procedures — from moderately invasive arthroscopic knee surgery to the highly-invasive joint replacement — come with significant risks, including: blood clots, infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and, in replacement surgery, possible joint rejection.
Fortunately, if lower back pain and joint injury have stopped you from enjoying golf as much as you’re used to, surgery, is not the only option. Many golfers, from pros to recreational players, have discovered the benefits of Stem Cell Therapy, a proven, minimally-invasive medical treatment that reduces the pain while healing the damaged joint.
How Stem Cell Treatment Can Heal Golf Related Joint Pain
In the past decade, medical science has made tremendous advancements in the treatment of spinal and joint injury using Stem Cell Therapy. Stem Cell treatment uses your body’s own somatic (adult) stem cells to heal damaged cells and generate new, healthy cells. This therapy option works for joint pain and other symptoms of degenerative disease because it actually repairs the damage, rather than just masking the pain.
As new cells replace damaged cells, the joint begins to function better, gradually reducing pain, inflammation and other symptoms of joint disease. And, because the injected stem cells continue generating healthy cells, patients continue to feel even better as time goes by.
This minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure allows most patients to return to their normal routine in a few days. Most patients report significant improvement within a few weeks. And, in many cases, these positive results can last for years. Patients are able to delay surgery for years … or put it off forever.
So, if joint or lower back pain has stolen the enjoyment from your favorite game, we have some great news for you! You may not have to give up this wonderful game after all. We are helping people, just like you, get their swing back every day.
Curious to learn more about how Stem Cell treatment can benefit you? Click here to set up a one-on-one consultation, so I can answer all your questions and discuss the ways Stem Cell Therapy can help you.