How to protect your back and improve your game?

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Back pain is a common problem for most golfers. Even professional players such as Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples have had to contend with back pain over the course of their careers.


Now, if these professional players are having pain, it only stands to reason that many amateur and/or recreational golfers experience the same problem. The main reason for this is that during a full golf swing, the muscles of the lumbar spine reach approximately 90 percent of peak muscle activity. This equates to greater spinal loading and creates the potential for the occurrence of back pain or injury.


As Diagram A below shows, there is a progression for good golf swings to occur, and there are three characteristics of physical ability that are the foundation for that process: flexibility, strength/stability and overall conditioning.


Here's how the foundational physical abilities relate to the development of back pain or injury:


Flexibility - If you do not have adequate flexibility, your ability to build strength and stability in desired areas, as well as your ability to produce proper muscle-firing patterns, will be compromised.


Strength/Stability - Without strength in the appropriate areas, you will lack the ability to distribute the forces being produced across the entire spectrum of the working musculature. Lack of stability will affect your posture, which, in turn, will affect your swing.


Overall Conditioning - Although golf is not considered a very physically taxing sport, the high amount of force produced during each swing of the golf club and the many hours spent on the course combine to generate high levels of fatigue. Fatigue is generally a precursor to injury. Well-conditioned athletes experience less fatigue and fewer injuries.

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