Pain during golf - brave or silly?

May 12, 2015

As a 12 handicapper, I feel I can play some good shots mixed in with some OK shots, all rounded out with some shockers. My body is getting better at controlling my golf swing, so I can be more consistent and less injury prone. However, at this stage I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t feel any pain during or after a game of golf.

As a physio who treats many golfers, I am staggered by how many people simply put up with pain. Maybe it’s male bravado combined with that great Aussie attitude of ‘I’ll be alright’. It simply doesn’t make sense. The easiest time to fix something is now. It only gets harder as we get older.

30% of golfers feel back pain during or after every round of golf. This is crazy. This tells me two things:

1. Golfers are willing to put up with pain to do something they love – very admirable (however silly in my eyes)
2. 30% of all golfers are hitting way too many shots every round (some may see that as value for money golfing)

Golf Ball

There is a strong relationship between pain in the body and poor ball striking. Pain is a fascinating thing. Nerves rightly or wrongly send an extremely strong message to the brain that interprets this information in a split second, causing varying levels of emotional response. What also happens is a subconscious change to the operating system that controls our muscles, joints and our movements. This means that like it or not, we move differently as a response to pain.

If we feel pain during our golf swing, we will compensate accordingly. I have never seen a golf swing that has changed for the better. No one has felt pain and hit the ball further. This is why I find it staggering that people will put up with pain and not do anything about it. It may be as simple as having good warm ups and great stretching, or slightly changing your weekly exercise routines to help reduce these major roadblocks to better golf.

I screen many people and find numerous things that their bodies could do better. This may be the result of sitting in an office for 8 hours a day. It may be a history of serious injury. Whichever it is, it is never too late to change. See a golf specialist physio and you may just surprise yourself. You may start beating your mates.

Good golfing!

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Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Joel Bates.

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