Common Golfing Injuries
Neck And Back Pain In Golfers
Pain in the sides of necks, between our neck and shoulders, as well as in the lower back are frequent ailments that golfers face regularly. Often, these are muscle-related pain due to lack of stretching before and after the games or poor swing biomechanics.
The trapezius muscle is a large muscle that extends from the back of our skull, to the upper back between our shoulder blades (scapula) and towards the lower thoracic spine. It works hard to support the weight of our arms, control and rotate our scapula and spine, and contract to extend our neck (when we hold our head up or look upwards).
Imagine the stress on our trapezius muscles as we address the ball in a stable posture, proceed to rotate our spine in the backswing and release during the down swing through impact and follow-through! And as a bogey player, I do this at least 90 times in a game. It is no wonder we get neck, upper and lower back aches playing our favourite sport.
The latissimus dorsi muscle is the largest muscle in the upper body, covering most of the lower back and stretches to the sides and arms. It facilitates movement of the arms, shoulders and works synergistically with other muscles of the lower back when you lean over, arch your back backwards, and flex your back sideways. It does not work in isolation but works with other muscles in the lower and upper back. Tight latissimus dorsi muscles are known to contribute to chronic shoulder and back pain since this muscle connects the spine to the upper arms (humerus).
Prevention is better than cure
Late to the game and your friends are already on the first tee box? It might not be a bad idea to let them tee off first while you stretch. Start on the second hole after a good stretch, otherwise you might pull a muscle and drag your first ball into the nearby stream.
What would be considered a serious neck or back injury?
Everyone gets the occasional neck and back pain. These symptoms are often mild to moderate and gets better with rest, stretching, and with simple analgesics.
Some signs that the pain you are experiencing is more serious than originally thought include the following:
- Constant pain at rest and at night despite adequate rest and care
- Pain that wakes you up at night
- Sharp shooting pain to your arms
- Tingling, numbness and/or weakness in your arms and fingers
- Clumsiness in your hands e.g., difficulty holding a pen or chopsticks, unable to button your shirt
- Clumsiness or instability when walking
- Trouble going to the toilet
- Sharp shooting pain to your legs (This may or may not be associated with tingling and numbness in the calves or toes)