Why Your Low Back is Hurting by the Back Nine

Have you been walking (or even riding) 18 holes and noticed that your back is seizing up or tightening on you a lot sooner than it used to and a heck of a lot sooner than you'd like?  Are you one of those golfers who feels pretty good on the course but terrible when they sit down in the clubhouse?  Do you limit the number of holes or rounds you play because of golf-related or non-related low back pain?

Well, at any rate, hopefully we can make some sense of your low back pain during and after golf by thinking about our body as a sandwich of sorts.  Except this isn't necessarily the type of sandwich that is ideal.  

The "tightness sandwich" is a common pattern I see in many of the amateur golfers that we work with.  It's so common that I want to raise awareness among golfer's, of all levels, that it exists and why it wreaks havoc on your low back.

As described in the video above, the two segments that are designed to be mobile (our mid back/thoracic spine and our hips) often times become restricted, immobile, deactivated, and lacking function at their full end-ranges.  If you'd like to meet at your favorite clubhouse for a drink to debate "why" this is, we could play 18 sooner than answer that question.

However, what we do know both clinically and on the course is that tightness in these regions usually ends up producing a change in the normal patterns of the low back resulting in undue stress and potentially pain that can truly limit both your enjoyment and performance on the course.  

Basically to produce the same amount of "turn", power into the strike, and perceived swing speed, the low back will almost inherently become more mobile.  The problem with this is that the low back and "core" is designed to be a stable zone of energy transfer between the lower and the upper half.

When the low back can no longer be that stable base, then we see issues with muscle strains, disc injuries, joint irritation, and at times nerve irritation.  You've essentially asked something that was meant to transfer energy to produce energy.  That's a problem.

So when you're sick and tired of reaching in the medicine cabinet for the ibuprofen and the old closet for the heating pad after your rounds, remember that you have a better and more pro-active way to address this head on...not just put a band-aid on it.

And for you, one of the possibilities and common findings is that we may start with the areas above and below the low back as a focal point to improved functioning and energy transfer in the golf swing.

If you'd like some ideas of how to make these areas more mobile, increase your distance by 15 yards, or help relieve low back pain the the FREE E-BOOK below (click image) will give you some more ideas...

If this doesn't make sense at all, make sure you contact me, I'll talk to you about it more over a "sandwich."


Dr. Eric Wallace, PT is a Golf Medical Professional and has 2 certifications through the medical tract of the Titleist Performance Institute.  If you are a golfer who has been frustrated, told to stop playing, or not played as many rounds as you'd like because of painful sitiuations, then this blog and future information to follow will blend very well with you.  "We help golfers of all levels crush the ball off the tee and stay pain-free.