If you are a golf fan like me, you can appreciate a good match when you see one. Tiger Woods vs Rocco Mediate for the US Open, Rory McIlroy vs Patrick Reed in the Ryders Cup, Tiger’s famous 9 and 8 drubbing of Stephen Ames, all amazing matches and extraordinarily entertaining head-to-head competition.
What about a good match that is not competition based you ask? Golf and chiropractic care. It may seem obvious – and for the most part it is – that athletes in a sport so reliant on spine dynamics can benefit from chiropractic care. I’ll explain why the match makes sense and even list some PGA Tour legends who frequent a chiropractor. With The Masters underway, you may even pick up some facts worth sharing at your weekend watch party.
What happens during a golf swing?
Though professionals make it look easy, a golf swing is incredibly complex. During a swing we are asking our spines to be able to rotate, laterally bend, compress, shear, and more while counting on it to be stable as it faces all those forces. All the forces during a swing place a significant loading and torsional stress on our spines, especially our lumbar spines (low back). Some professionals golfers experience 7500N of compressive forces on their spine during a downswing, which is about 8 times their body weight.
As we rotate away from the ball during a backswing, we are generating potential energy by coiling our bodies. Our upper bodies rotate more than our pelvis, which places a lot of torsion on our lumbar spines. When it’s time to release all that potential energy, we unleash the coil and rotate ferociously down to the ball with a combination of compression and lateral bending accompanying the rotation. Then we follow through and the swing is over. Now do that 70-120 more times (not including practice swings) and you’re done 18 holes!
How chiropractic can help
Chiropractors are full body practitioners, but our bread and butter is the spine. Now that you know the kind of demand we place on our spine during a golf swing you may have a new found appreciation for what it does. It’s best to have that new found appreciation for a capable spine now after reading about it versus when your spine decides it’s had enough and you’re lying on your chiropractor’s table in pain.
A chiropractor will assess you to make sure you are fit to play, then ensure your spine is reacting as it should to your demands. Some research shows that golfers with low back pain have early activation of their lumbar erector spinae muscles, which activate early to help stabilize the spine. Early activation of accessory muscles costs you rotation, which costs you distance. Relieving that low back pain by visiting your chiropractor can prevent that early activation and potentially save you some yards.
Conservative care in the form of regular treatment and a good stretching routine is the best way to keep your body ready to play. Don’t believe me? This is from the Journal of Neurosurgery, Spine:
“Certainly, initial management in players with back pain would include aggressive core and flexibility training with conservative therapies”
PGA Tour players and chiropractic
Countless PGA Tour players rely on chiropractors to keep their careers going. These guys play for millions of dollars every week and understand the importance in keeping their bodies working as they need them to.
82-time PGA Tour and 15-time major championship winner Tiger Woods once said “I’ve been going to a chiropractor as long as I can remember. It’s as important to my training as my practice swing”.
Three-time major championship winner Jordan Spieth has been seeing his chiropractor since he was 14 years old, and credits him with keeping him able to play en route to his 2015 win at The Masters.
Some other players who rely on their chiropractor include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Mike We–– do I really need to continue after naming those guys?
Let’s get you assessed
With The Masters reminding us that golf season is right around the corner, book your assessment today and let’s make sure you are ready to play. We will do a complete head-to-toe assessment and come up with a plan to make sure your body is on your side this season. As a golfer myself, I understand the joy of being out playing golf, and the anguish of not being able to play because of pain. If the greatest players of all time with the most perfect swings of all time credit their chiropractor in helping their golf career, does it not make sense for us Average Joes?
Enjoy The Masters this weekend! Let’s go Tiger 🐅