As the weather begins to cool, active Arizona residents can emerge from air-conditioned buildings and enjoy being outdoors again. For many, that means golf. It might also mean pain. While golfers don’t experience bone-crunching contact of players in sports like football, basketball or soccer, the beautiful game still takes a heavy physical toll.
“A lot of golfers are playing hurt,” notes an article in golfdigest.com. “Not broken-bones hurt, but with things like tendonitis, sore muscles and arthritis. These aren’t flashy injuries, but they still can keep you off the course.” When it comes to golf injuries, prevention is better than treatment. If you’ve had issues in the past, you should talk with a sports medicine or pain specialist about proper conditioning and stability exercises before you begin your golf season. “The best brace you can give yourself is your own ‘muscle brace,’” explains the Mayo Clinic.
Here are some of the ailments that routinely affect golfers, along with information about preventative measures and potential treatments.
Lower back problems
The physical torque from a golf swing makes this the most common golf injury. In addition to potential damage to the discs and spine, the twisting and swinging pulls the ligaments, tendons and muscles throughout the lower back and hips. Pain and injury can result from several causes and locations. To fix the problem, you first need an accurate diagnosis from a physician who can also provide a customized treatment program for your specific needs.
To prevent injury, golfdigest.com suggests adjusting your swing so everything turns in unison with the hips and shoulders rotating back together and through together: “You might sacrifice some power, but you’ll save your back and stay in the game,” the article reads.
Like its better known and more glamorous relative tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow result from an inflamed tendon. Tennis elbow stems from damage to tendons on the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow is caused by tendons on the inside.
Several preventative techniques can help to prevent golfers elbow. These include bracing and strapping, modifying equipment, taking extended rests and even learning new routines for repetitive activities. Proper warm-ups, along with flexibility and strengthening routines are also key to prevention and recurrence.
Other joint issues
Golfers are also subject to pain and injury of their shoulders, wrists, knees, neck and ankles. Consider Tiger Woods as an example. This ESPN article details his injury history, which includes several of these and other physical ailments. If injuries can sideline and derail the career of one of the greatest professional golfers ever, they certainly can jeopardize the game for amateur duffers.
Treatments for golf injuries are as varied as the conditions themselves. It can range from rest and anti-inflammatory drugs to injections or even surgery in severe cases. There are even advanced options like various types of stem cell or regenerative procedures and radiofrequency ablation.
The best advice is to meet with medical experts you trust to guide you toward a solution that fits your needs and circumstances.
If you are yearning for fall so you can get back to the game you love but you are apprehensive because of nagging pains or old injuries, now is the time to meet with a medical specialist who can help you resolve your problem. With the right therapy and treatment, you can be ready when cooler weather arrives.
Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.