Relieving Low Back Pain from Golf

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Preventing Low Back Pain from Golf

With golf season in effect, Activa recommends that you take care in gentle exercises and stretching to prevent golf injury. If you are experiencing low back pain from a recent round of golf, it is not advisable to stress inflamed muscles by continuing to play golf. Taking some time off from golf will allow your muscles to heal faster, as will applying heat or ice to your lower back and ibuprofen to decrease inflammation and help with your recovery.

Gentle Exercise for Low Back Pain 

Stretching between golf rounds is advisable, alongside low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking for 30-40 minutes every second day. After your low back pain has resolved, slowly return to playing golf and practice prevention tips to help avoid future episodes. A routine of stretching and low-impact exercise is important for maintaining your ability to play golf.

Stretching and maintaining flexibility is especially important among individuals who experience low back pain to prevent further injury or muscle strain from golf. Those who experience chronic low back pain tend to lose flexibility, therefore a daily stretching program is crucial to maintain flexibility and prevent low back pain.

Maintaining good aerobic condition helps to reduce discomfort so you can continually enjoy golf. Walking and stationary biking are both low-impact aerobic conditioning exercises three times a week at 30-40 minute intervals are gentle on your back therefore recommended for golfers with low back pain.

Low Back Pain from Golf Among Elder Golfers

As golfers continue to play as they age, most expect to be able to continue to play throughout their retirement years. Some elderly golfers develop conditions which make it difficult to walk long distances on the golf course. For individuals who have difficulty walking around the golf course due to pain, a golf cart can provide needed support. An alternative for aerobic conditioning to walking the golf course is stationary biking.

Elder golfers are generally less likely to develop low back pain from their golf swing as they are usually not in the stage of developing their swing. Sometimes, a modification of the golf swing is necessary for the injured or elderly golfer, comprised of a relaxed posture, shorter back swing, increased hand action and a shorter finish.

Contact Activa if you need relief from a golf injury or would like to review stretches to prevent low back pain on the golf course.

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Golf season is here! 3 tips to prevent low back pain

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Summer is here! For many, the favourite sport of the season is golf. Like any sport, golf can trigger low back pain with muscle strains and sprains combined with injuries to the spine.

Individuals who suffer from chronic or recurring episodes of low back pain can be frustrated when pain hinders their time on the green.

Activa recommends 3 simple ways to prevent back injury and low back pain on the golf course: warm-up before playing golf, practice your swing, and safely carry your golf bag.

1. Prevent low back pain: Warm-up before playing golf
Going directly to the tee as the sun rises then pulling out your driver and proceeding full swing to hit your golf ball off the tee is a sure way to sprain your back muscles and trigger low back pain.

Try a thorough warm-up before playing your next round of golf, including stretches and light swings to warm up. These small movements will prepare your muscles for the golf game.

When stretching before hitting the golf ball, focus on your shoulder, torso and hip regions along with your hamstring muscles.

• Stretch your shoulder and torso by holding a golf club behind your neck and shoulders, then rotate your torso
• Stretch your hips by pulling your knee to your chest
• Stretch your hamstrings by bending over and reaching to touch your toes
• Gently swing your golf club to warm up muscle groups and prepare for the force and twisting that your golf swing produces.

If you have time to hit the driving range before your golf game, begin with smaller irons and progress to larger woods. This will allow your muscles to warm up gradually. Muscles that have been stretched and progressively loaded are much less prone to injury while playing golf and can handle more stress before becoming strained or sprained.

2. Practice swinging before golf to prevent low back pain
As you develop your golf swing and club head speed, be mindful of force and twisting applied to your low back. Golfers should focus on a smooth and rhythmic swing to produce less stress and low back pain by minimizing muscular effort alongside disc and facet joint loading.

A proper golf swing allows your shoulder, hip, chest and lower spine to distribute the load of your swing. Your shoulder and hip turn, along with a wrist snap produces more club head velocity than a stiff arm swing.

Be mindful of your weight distribution when swinging! Weight should be distributed evenly on the balls of your feet and maintain good balance by slightly bending your knees and keeping your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Your spine should be straight and you should bend forward from your hips.

While developing an easy, fluid swing is desirable by golfers, it takes proper technique and practice to reduce stress to the low back and prevent low back pain. To avoid a low back injury when learning to play golf, beginners are advised to receive training advice from a golf pro a most aspects of a golf swing are not necessarily intuitive. Golf lessons may also be useful for senior golfers who may have decreased flexibility and strength.

3. Carry your golf bag safely to prevent low back pain
Bending over repeatedly to pick up your golf bag can stress your low back and lead to muscle strain. An integrated golf bag stand that opens when your golf bag is set on the ground will eliminate the need to bend over. While some people enjoy carrying their own golf bag to get more exercise, bag straps that place pressure on one shoulder can be hard on your back. If you would like to carry your golf bag, Activa recommends dual straps on your golf bag to evenly divide the weight across your back and reduce the risk of developing low back pain from an uneven load.

The good news: most acute low back injuries resulting from a golf game will get better over a few days to weeks.

Try these modifications to reduce the chances of common injuries including:
• Muscle strains: result of rough or forceful golf swings or a sudden shift during your downswing
• Muscle and tendon attachment: occurs due to excessive use, accidents or swing misalignment when playing golf
• Disc injuries: occurs from swinging abnormalities and usually associated with a pre-existing disc lesion aggravated by golf

Contact Activa if you need relief from a recent golf injury or would like to review your stretches to prevent future muscle strains and sprains on the green.

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Cycling Season Is Here – 4 Ways to Prevent Knee Pain

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Cycling season is here! While biking is considered a low-impact sport, the repetitive mechanics of cycling combined with high reactive forces between your foot and bike pedal create high pressure on your lower extremity and can predispose you to knee pain.

Knee pain is the most common lower-body issue among cyclists with as many as 65 per cent experiencing it. Most knee pain is a result of overdoing it when you ride for longer periods and harder than your condition permits. This tends to strain and inflame your connective tissues.

Activa encourages you to consider safety when biking to prevent reduced training capacity or limited performance with these 4 cycling safety tips.

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5 Ways to Reduce Risk of New Year’s Resolution Injuries

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Happy New Year from Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa! It’s that time for New Year’s resolutions so we encourage you to be careful and reduce risk of injury if you’re pursuing an ambitious fitness plan after time away from regular exercise.

A rapid increase in physical activity and intensity often causes common injuries including achilles and gluteal, calf and hamstring strains, lower back and neck strains, and rotator cuff injury.

Consider these 5 ways to reduce risk of injury so you can follow through on your New Year’s resolutions to improve your health and fitness while sustaining wellness throughout 2017 and beyond.
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