Exercises to Prevent Back Pain

By Tiesha Whatley

Playing golf can put a strain on the back. The backswing and follow-through puts a strain on the spine (and the lumbar spine muscles) by rotating it with too much force and not enough control. Damage can be done to the disc and facet joint from performing the same moves. Also, continuously bending down to pick up and carry the golf bag is a recipe for back pain. Luckily, there are exercises that you can do to strengthen the back to prevent back pain while playing your favorite game.

Neutral Spine

This exercise helps to prevent injury to the back and increases the natural movement of muscles. This is not an exercise, but the position you will need to keep your back in while performing the exercises for the back. You do this by keeping an inward arch in the lower back at all times.
Another position for the back is abdominal bracing. This is done by tightening the midsection muscles. Abdominal bracing protects the spine and braces the muscles surrounding the spine while doing back exercises.

Curl Ups

This is the first exercise you need to do to prevent back pain. This will strengthen the upper back. Get into the neutral spine and abdominal bracing positions. Position the head so that the ears are aligned with the shoulders. To do a basic curl up, slowly curl up the upper back---not the neck---and hold for 5 seconds before getting back in the starting position. Do 10 reps of these every morning; soon you will see an increase in the grace of your golf swing and a decrease of upper back pain.
Once you are more familiar with the basic curl up, you can move on to a more advanced exercise. With the advanced curl up start in the same position of the basic curl up---with the neutral spine and abdominal bracing positions. As you curl up the back, move the arms towards the head. This will increase the amount of weight being put on the abdominal muscles. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Do 10 reps every morning.

Side Bridge

The side bridge also comes in basic and advanced versions. Start with a neutral spine and abdominal bracing with both. With the basic side bridge, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms hanging loosely to your sides. Using your abdominal muscles, lift up both of the legs and hold for 5 seconds. Replace the feet back on the ground and return to your starting position. Do 10 reps of the basic side bridge. In the advanced version, you will lift your pelvis instead of the legs.

Bird Dog Exercise

Once again, you will get into the neutral spine and abdominal brace positions. This exercise is done while standing. You will alternate lifting one arm and stretching as far as you can, then on to the other arm. Hold each stretch for 5 seconds before releasing. Do 10 reps of this exercise to lengthen the spine and stretch out the back muscles. It is best to do this exercise before heading to the golf course. This way your back muscles will be warmed up from the exercise, and better prepared for your swings.

Advanced Bird Dog Exercise

In the advanced version of the above exercise, you will start in the same positions. When you are lifting one arm, lift the opposite leg with it. This will target and stretch the entire back. For an even more advanced version, hold the stretch for 10 seconds instead of 5. Try to do this exercise regularly to stretch out the back muscles and make them more flexible. This will help to prevent back pain with all that bending and lifting of the golf bag.

About The Author

Tiesha Whatley has been writing for over 10 years. She has been published in "Marie Claire," "Ebony" and "Modern Bride" magazines. She holds a B.S. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has also been working in the wedding planning industry for over 13 years.

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