Back pain and Golf--not the end of your favorite pastime!!

Back pain can threaten our hobbies, but it doesn't have to.

Most back pain associated with golf is musculoskeletal. At the beginning of the season, everyone is eager to get back out in the sunshine, walk those beautiful courses with friends and recoup some of last year’s losses. Unfortunately, the winter months can lead to less exercise overall, and this increases the chances of pulling a muscle or aggravating a joint when returning to any sport. A couple of things may help you get back to the links with a lower chance of having back pain. Be sure to do gentle stretches for your back, starting after a hot shower when your muscles are loose. Make this a daily routine. Stick with an exercise program that keeps your core muscles strong all year long, such as gentle yoga, pilates or mat work in the gym. Walking and swimming are great programs to keep your back and abdominal muscles working at their best. Make those an enjoyable part of your regular health maintenance, grabbing friends or spouse, or your favorite canine companion. If you develop back pain after a round or two, take a break. Hot showers, ice and/or heat, gentle walking should help. If you can tolerate anti inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen, using an over-the-counter medication can reduce some of the pain. Ease back into your game as the pain improves. Most of the time, the pain is related to a vigorous swing, carrying a bag when you haven’t for a while, or pulling clubs out of the trunk. Take a look at how you are doing even the most routine things and be sure you are smart about your body mechanics! If your back pain lasts or is too severe to be managed with the strategies above, or if it is associated with weakness in the legs, bowel or bladder dysfunction or lasting numbness, see your doctor. You may have another problem that needs different treatment, such as a disc problem, stenosis or a compression fracture.