The golf swing is a complex movement that uses the whole body to generate power, propelling the golf ball with extreme accuracy over vast distances.
Professional golfers have highly refined nervous system muscle sequence activation, “muscle memory” from years of precise repetition, allowing for the perfect execution of an array of complex unilateral body movements, producing a fluid and powerful swing.
However, the secret power of this movement as first described by Andry Vleeming, Ph.D., comes from a combination of “musculo-fascial spring systems” that work in synergy throughout the body.
These spring systems allow each of us to perform even the most basic of maneuver, such as walking – through to the most complex of whole body actions…
In the case of performing a golf swing; the entire musculo-fascial system creates torsion throughout the kinetic chain as the body twists during the back swing and then recoils while following through on the downswing in the same manner as a rubber band propels a toy car.
There is very little hip rotation and a lot of upper torso rotation with correct golf swing mechanics and it is generally amateurs who are injured due to improper swing mechanics, whereas professionals suffer from repetitive movement patterns, both of which can lead to acute injury and chronic pain.
53% of male and 45% of female golfers suffer low back pain!
Many people are ‘weekend warrior’ golfers who sit at their job for long hours each day in a flexed position (shortening the hip flexors), leading to weak muscles such as the gluteals which are critical stabilizers of the hip during the golf swing; and overactive or tight muscles like the hamstrings and lumbar erectors that compensate to assist the glutes in hip extension.
These kinds of common muscle imbalances, as well as with issues like excessive lumbar curve (lordosis), particularly effect muscles crucial for maintaining stability in the lower back, and when core stability is lost, the joints are subjected to undue strain leading to possible protective spasm, injuries or worse – inter-vertebral disc damage.
Successful treatment of golf-related injuries typically requires modifications to the golf swing through careful retraining along with functional rehabilitation.
In most cases, restoration of proper lumbar lordosis is necessary and this can be achieved through specific exercises and advanced manual therapy. Too much or too little curve results in excessive compression through the thoracolumbar and lumbosacral junctions.
Remedial Massage Therapy deals with muscle imbalance patterns, relieving tense muscles with Therapeutic Massage and stimulating weak or inhibited muscles through fast-paced spindle-stimulation techniques so they become active again.
First however hypertonically shortened hip flexors and the anterior hip capsules are stretched, followed by mobilization techniques aimed restoring lumbar curve and getting free movement in the fixated lower back, sacroiliac and thoracic articulations; increasing joint stabilization.
Once the revitalized and functionally balanced neuromuscular system allows muscles and joints to work at optimal levels, the greater control the golfer has over new and diverse movement patterns, the better they can perform with less chance of injury.
Just remember to take regular breaks at work and stretch yourself out often, learn correct technique before going all out on your next 18 holes, be sure to warm up before you tee off AND get regular Remedial massage therapy here in Fairfield… hint hint 😉
Yours in health