Once you hit the 30 year-old mark, inevitably you’re going to start experiencing some back pain. There are just a few parts of our bodies that weren’t built properly, and the back certainly falls in that category.
Back pain doesn’t need to be the downfall of your handicap, though. There’s no need to ‘Pull a Tiger‘ and bow out of the round. As long as you prepare properly and manage your back pain according to this advice, you shouldn’t even have to shed a stroke off your round.
1. Take the Torque Off Your Back
We all like the crush the ball off the tee, and in order to do this, we swing hard. We build club head speed by rapidly rotating our shoulders, hips, and back during our swing, which causes a lot of stress on our lower back. Go to the range, and start practicing a fluid, smooth swing. By rotating your entire body in a more fluid motion, you’ll feel the pressure ease on your lower back, and much of that energy will be transferred into your shoulders and hips.
At first, it’s going to be frustrating as you may feel like you’re losing power. It takes time to get comfortable with a fluid swing, especially if you’re accustomed to a hard, rapid stroke (which probably caused your back pain to start).
2. Stretch and Warm Up Properly
The worse thing you can do for your back is to show up right at tee time after a 30 minute drive in your car, and start swinging your driver off the tee box. It’s extremely important to stretch out for at least 10 minutes before even hitting a ball. There are great devices on the market, such as the Trueback, built to help alleviate back pain, and stretch out the spine. If you use the Trueback for 10 minutes before your round, and 10 minutes after, much of the pain and stress will be alleviated.
It’s also important to stretch your hamstrings, allowing for fluid hip rotation. The old-fashion ‘bend over and touch your toes’ will work to loosen up these muscles before the round.
3. Don’t Fight Your Loss of Power, Just Club Up
As I mentioned, you’re going to need to smooth out your swing in order to prevent that unnecessary strain on the lower back. So if you used to be able to smack your 9 Iron 150 yards, you may have to start using the 8 or 7 for these shots. Don’t let that frustrate you, just look at it as an opportunity to improve upon your accuracy from this range.
4. Listen to Your Body
Your back may feel fine on the front, but 18 might just be a stretch. Don’t push yourself past your limits. If you’re starting to feel some of the lingering pain, rest a few holes and see how you feel, and if the pain is still there, call it a day. There’s no need to push your self hard on a single round, and then pay for it for the rest of the week.
Back pain is awful, but there’s no reason to let it ruin your favorite sport, and there’s no reason to let your favorite sport ruin your back. Stretch properly, slow down your swing, and manage your pain properly. And you’ll be more confident than ever to bet big on your game!