Golf Back Pain

By Steve Smith

Golfers have long been bothered by lower back pain. It is a common ailment that can become severe in some cases. In other cases it will simply linger on, causing only minor discomfort. There are several ways you can alleviate back pain and learn to control it. The best way is to understand what causes it and how to deal with and prevent it.

How Back Pain Occurs

The motion of the golf swing causes most golf-related back pain. The force of the swing stresses the lower L5 and S1 vertebrae and aggravates the joints and muscles in that area. Small tears can occur in the muscles around the joints, and the ligaments and tendons can also be damaged in more severe cases. Repeated use will inflame the muscles and cause pain. Normally, the pain begins a few hours after golfing.


One way to prevent lower back pain is to stretch the muscles in the back before you golf. This prevents "cold muscle" tears, when an unused muscle is suddenly called into action and becomes damaged. This will loosen up the muscles and prepare them for use. Place a club behind the neck and grasp both ends with your hands, then twist your torso from side to side slowly, stretching the muscles in your lower back. Stretch your lower back and hips by grasping one knee and pulling it into your chest. Additionally, stretch your hamstrings by touching your toes. Then gradually warm up by taking just a few easy practice swings before your game. Just a little bit of stretching can greatly reduce the amount of back pain you experience after the round. 

Carrying Your Bag Properly

Another prevention tip is properly carrying your golf bag. A single-strap bag will produce extra force on the back, especially if it is over- or undersized. A properly sized bag, carried evenly on both shoulders, is the best solution. Dual-strap bags should be used whenever possible. In addition, a rolling cart bag is an even better choice. This further reduces the amount of bending and lifting you must do to pick up your heavy golf bag, which is another way you can injure or inflame your back.

Healing and Recovering

If you experience severe back pain you should not continue to golf. Instead, rest the muscles and apply heat, then cool packs in 20- to 30-minute intervals until the pain starts to subside. While you rest those muscles it is advisable to continue doing low-impact exercise. For instance, short walks of 30 or 40 minutes every few days is a good way to keep your muscles in shape. If the pain continues for several days, you should consult a physician.

About The Author

Steve Smith has published hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics, including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites, including and Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.


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