Golf Swing Mechanics and Chiropractic Care
- Summer is fast approaching and it is time to put away the snow shovel and dust off the golf clubs.
- Studies have shown that back pain is one of the most common problem amoung golfers.
- One of the largest myths communicated by golf instructors is that club head speed at connection with the ball depends on maximum spinal rotation during the backswing.
- Some instructors recommend keeping the pelvis still while rotating the spine far into end-range.
- This has been a popular technique because it was believed that maximal spinal rotation engages the largest muscles of the back allowing for a “sling-shot” effect during the downswing.
- However, it is now known that spinal muscles only provide about 5% of the torque generated during spinal rotation and it is actually the abdominal obliques doing most of the work.
- Elastic energy is the true source of power generation in the golf swing. This is thought to be the power generator for most athletic movements and in short is energy created by allowing a brief, quick stretch on the muscles involved in certain movements.
- Rotator cuff
- Latissimus dorsi
- Pectoralis Major
- Muscles of the arm and forearm
Three main reasons to adopt a short backswing by reducing spinal rotation:
- More control over the golf club, leading to better control of the ball.
- A short backswing will produce the same club head speed at impact as a long back-swing.
- Torsional stresses are reduced in the lumbar spine with a short backswing.
- Golfers should try to keep their shoulders and pelvis parallel to each other for most of the golf swing.
- Spinal Adjustments – reduce pain and improve spinal mobility.
- Preventative Swing Advice – shorten the backswing and maintain shoulders and pelvis parallel to each other for the majority of the golf swing.
- Rehabilitation Exercises –The more stable the lumbar spine is the less likely injury will occur. Furthermore, strengthening some key musculature (abdominals, latissimus dorsi, rotator cuff, pectoralis major and various arm muscles) can increase power.
- Anti-inflammatory Nutrition and Supplementation – Maintaining a diet rich in dark greens and other colorful vegetables. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, ginger, tumeric, Boswellia and bromelain can naturally help with the body’s inflammation. Glucosamine sulfate is also useful in enhancing repair as well as preservation of connective tissues and joint surfaces.
*See articles “Hitting the long drive” and “Building the ultimate golf swing” for specific rehabilitation and strengthening exercises.