Many people are amping up their golf game this time of year, which can take a toll on the body. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned pro, many players will face different aches and pains throughout the golf season. The most common injuries that occur with golf include low back pain, neck spasms, wrist tendinitis, hand and finger injuries, medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) and hip injuries. Sports massage is a great tool that can enhance your recovery and your game.
Low back pain: This is the most common sports injury in golfers that can not only hinder the game but also affect daily life. Research shows that the incidence of low back pain in the male golfer is 25% to 36%, compared to the female golfer at 19% to 25%. A study suggests that playing golf involves significant movement during the golf swing. Repetitive “classic” swinging increases the risk of lower back pain development. Players with increased weight and body mass generally have poor body mechanics which makes them more prone to develop back pain.
Neck spasms are often treated with massage, and massage for golfers is designed to pay special attention to the muscles of the neck.
Wrist Tendinitis: Golfers are faced with a unique muscle disorder called “yips”. Yips is characterized by a muscle spasm occurring in the wrist whenever you are trying to grip. This is mostly seen in golfers and baseball players. It can take different forms. For some, it is locking of the wrist while others may feel tremors and jerks.
Another study found that the ECU tendon (in the wrist) is a frequent cause of pain and discomfort in golfers. Therefore, hand and wrist massage for golfers can lead to pain relief and improved movement. Research shows that massage therapy effectively reduces inflammation and discomfort, and improvement in grip and swing strength by having massage therapy regularly.
Golfer’s elbow: is a condition in which pain is felt in the tendons of the forearm and is an overuse injury. The pain is usually accompanied by tenderness and inflammation. Medically it is known as medial epicondylitis. The range of motion of the elbow is improved following a massage therapy session.
Hip Injuries: The swinging of a golf club places both hips under stress and requires them to move through a certain range. During a shot, the lead hip rotates rapidly while the trail hip rotates in an opposite direction. This movement makes them prone to tears.
Golf is a technique-specific game. If played with improper biomechanics and posture, risk of injury is increased. Proven benefits of massage therapy include improving flexibility, correcting posture, improving blood circulation, stimulating muscles and overall preventing injuries. By improving blood circulation, massage also speeds the rate of recovery from a current injury. If you enjoy golf and plan to play this summer, you would also benefit from a warm up routine, as outlined by Dr. Brand below! If you have any questions or would like to start treatment, contact the clinic today!
-Kaitlyn St. Martin, RMT
Risk Factors Associated With Low Back Pain in Golfers: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis – Jo Armour Smith, Andrew Hawkins, Marybeth Grant-Beuttler, Richard Beuttler, Szu-Ping Lee, 2018 (sagepub.com)