Getting Back in the Swing of Golf

Posted On: April 22, 2021

You have been cooped up since last year. At fifty-five you got your vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as it was available. Now you can go back and hit the golf course. You realize you’re out of practice so you go to the driving range and hit some balls.

It feels good to be out. On your first swing you hit a beautiful fade with your driver. You smile and reach down and tee up another ball and hit another great shot. You are on a roll. After about a half an hour you feel a little pull in your lower back. You ignore it and keep hitting while thinking, “it’s nothing.”

The drive home finds your back stiffening up. You get home and sit in your recliner with an ice pack on your back.

Your wife notices and asks, “Did you hurt yourself at the range?”

“No, I just have a little twinge in my back,” you reply.

She gives you a look while shaking her head.

The next morning is brutal. You can barely get out of bed. Your wife, seeing you in pain, helps you to the sink. Your back soon loosens up a little but it hurts to bend forward and sitting is miserable.

You call your physician. His assistant comes to the phone and calls in an order for a muscle relaxant and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. It helps a little.

A golfing friend calls up to see if you want to golf. You explain your situation. He understands, as he has had similar issues. He suggests you try his chiropractor and gives you their office’s number to call.

You are desperate and willing to try anything, so you make an appointment.

At your first visit the chiropractor introduces himself from behind his surgical mask. The two of you talk. He listens to your story of how you hurt your lower back. He asks some probing questions. He is concerned about pain radiating down into your legs and is pleased to hear that you have none.

The exam is thorough: he checks your reflexes, strengths and ranges of motion. You can’t bend forward without pain, and bending backwards seems to localize the pain into the small of the back.

He asks you to lay on your stomach on the table, demonstrating how to do this without bending the back. You do so without a problem. He then feels the muscles and comments on how taut they are. He has you prop up on your elbows. When you do this it intensifies the pain in your lower back. He asks if you can tolerate it and you say, “Yeah, if it is going to help.” He replies, “It should help.”

He explains that you likely have some disc involvement and shows you what that looks like on a handout. He further explains that certain movements will aggravate your pain and certain movements will help. He advises that bending, lifting, twisting and prolonged sitting will make the problem worse and that bending back and walking will make the problem better.

You ask, “Even if the pain intensifies going backwards?” “Yes,” he answers, “as long as the pain stays in the small of your back and doesn’t run down the leg. Bending back into extension will be beneficial.”

He then gets you hooked up to a machine that delivers a light tingling electric stimulation to your muscles and puts an ice pack over the small of your back. He instructs you to do an exercise called press up, a maneuver where you push up with your hands while leaving your legs and pelvis area down. It is difficult at first, but by the third set of ten you loosen up and it gets easier.

By the end of the visit you feel better. He gets you signed up for a series of visits and sends you home with instructions about what to do on your own. You follow his lead and at three weeks you are able to go back to the driving range. From there you progress to playing nine holes and finally eighteen.

You have been given a series of core exercises that their office calls spinal stabilization. You go in periodically for maintenance adjustments with the chiropractor and you are pleased to be back in the swing of golf.

 

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