“Dear ‘The Golfing Doc’; I know you work with several PGA Tour players and you mentioned that most of the top players in the world now have teams that work with them. What kind of team is this? And is this only for tour players? Thanks.” – Jeff B. Seattle, WA.
As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, I see a variety of sports injuries. Golf has a tendency to cause common injuries that include lower back pain, wrist pain, hip pain, and even neck pain. Interestingly, skill level does not necessarily dictate what injuries you are more prone to. In fact, an injury can happen to anyone; a golfer, a caddy, a spectator, or even a coach can end up with a golf-related injury.
If your body is not agile and working as best as it can, it will be difficult for you to play your best golf. For example, I want you to think of your body as a race car. If you are racing in the Daytona 500 and you have one tire that is worn out, you will still be able to get around the track, but likely not as fast as the other race cars. You’ll make it to the end of the race, but you’ll likely be all over the track, experiencing a lack of control of your vehicle. So as the driver, what should you do? Well, a skilled driver is going to pull into the pit and have his or her crew fix that tire as well as anything else that needs tuning up. After a few quick adjustments, the car is back to top form and is ready to race again.
So why not think of your body as a high-performance race car? You are the driver of that race car. If something is not right with your body, how will you play your round of golf at your fullest potential?
Any time your body experiences pain, soreness, stiffness, or some old or new injury, it creates movement compensations. By this, I mean that your body will adapt to these sensations to avoid pain or injury. In golf, this can be very detrimental because the movement patterns for golf are so specific. If you have back pain or have had an episode in the past, I bet it has been hard trying not to block or push that ball with each swing. Driving your hips forward towards the ball is a subconscious compensation your brain has made in order to avoid a possible irritation to your back. Even if you don’t have back pain anymore, that movement has engrained itself into your swing and needs to be corrected.
So who should be in your “pit crew”? My recommended pit crew consists of four main team members. First, you should have a good golf instructor to help you with your swing technique. Depending on your skill level, you may not need regular lessons but you should have an instructor in the pit when your swing is feeling off. Second, you should have a medical professional on your team. This person could be a chiropractor, physical therapist, or even a massage therapist. You need someone to make sure your body, the “race car”, is performing at its highest potential. This medical professional can help you with any health problems that need to be fixed or minimized. Third, you should have a golf-specific fitness trainer to help improve your overall conditioning, mobility, and stability. Ideally, what your trainer does with you should be guided or supervised by your medical professional. This will help rehabilitate any injured areas and also guide your conditioning based on your body’s needs. And finally, the fourth member of the pit crew is you! You ultimately drive the race car.
If you want to play pain-free golf, better golf, or simply be able to play enjoyable golf as you grow older, then put together your team. If you need further recommendations about putting together the right team for you– or would like to work with my team– feel free to contact me.