More than 25 million US golfers undergo a weekly health regimen that may surprise you: corrective chiropractic care! Today’s golfers are increasingly recognizing the importance of keeping their spines healthy, not only to better their lives, but to improve their golf game as well. Professional golfer Ted Tryba, who plays on the PGA and Nationwide Tours, travels to various chiropractors around the region to receive special corrective care before and after his tournaments. He does this not only because pain is common among golfers, but also because proper biomechanics, proper posture and spinal structure, and extended range of motion are essential to getting an edge on the competition. Even former World No. 1 golfer David Duval suffers from back pain due to repetitive play and regularly seeks chiropractic care.
According to Dr. Tom LaFountain, Director of Chiropractic Services for the PGA Tour and one of 14 official PGA chiropractors, during the 2007 PGA touring year close to 70% of PGA golfers experienced low back pain, and almost 20% suffered from neck pain. Another 13% suffered with shoulder, forearm, and wrist pain. An amazing 72% of PGA golfers experiencing one of these ailments regularly seek chiropractic care. Other PGA golfers who work with chiropractors include: Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Scott McCarron, Vijay Singh, and David Toms. Many LPGA golfers also benefit from chiropractic services.
Corrective Chiropractic has developed programs for golfers to assist their overall spinal health and, ultimately, their golf games. Due to abnormal spinal structure, many avid golfers who take lessons from skilled professionals still find that biomechanically their bodies do not let them move properly. A doctor certified in Clinical Biomechanics of Posture (CBP) addresses correct spinal position and helps to reestablish normal structural spinal alignment, thereby removing nerve interference caused by misaligned vertebrae. With better alignment the body can restore its optimal function and range of motion.
Similar to the situation for people who wear braces on their teeth, better biomechanics takes persistence, hard work, dedication, and time. After all, how many people do you know who achieved perfectly straight teeth in 3 weeks? In addition to chiropractic adjustments and traction, chiropractic care can help patients increase the range of motion in their pelvis and trunk, align their posture, do rehabilitation exercises, learn proper stretching protocols, work on abdominal strengthening, and reduce inflammation and swelling in their joints.
Proper nutrition also plays an important role in a golfer’s health. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as broccoli, ginger, lentils, avocados, garlic, soybeans, cabbage, and coconut, gives a golfer an edge on his or her competitors. Many golfers in pain rush to the medicine cabinet in search of painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications that might be alleviated with consistent nutritional choices. Optimal healing can occur with a diet that emphasizes green vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, ginger, and pineapple plus includes glucosamine and avoids processed foods. Hydration is also important, as healing occurs faster with increased water intake.
Playing golf can result in a variety of injuries that cause neck and back pain; shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain; and hip and knee pain. A common problem is the condition known as “golfer’s elbow.” The medical term for this disorder is medial epicondylitis. By either name the condition results from repetitive use and overuse of the tendons and ligaments of the forearm, which causes pain at the inside of the elbow and often on the pinky finger side of the hand. The pain typically increases while holding or gripping an object. Changing the swing biomechanics as well as introducing various stretches and exercises, soft tissue massage, and adjustment of the joint by a skilled chiropractor have been shown to help this and other golf-related injuries immensely.
Shoulder pain and carpal tunnel-like symptoms also occur frequently among golfers. Treatments that align the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck and a prescription of exercises tailored to the individual golfer can help relieve the symptoms as well as the neck and back pain commonly experienced. Electrical stimulation of the sore and spastic muscles has been reported to decrease pain and swelling and enables the golfer to enjoy a greater range of motion.
If you are a golfer, a personalized Corrective Chiropractic protocol can change your game. By following through with proper chiropractic care, your spine benefits, your health benefits, and, likely, so will your score!