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Swing Into Spring Without Back Pain

Backside view of golfer after just hitting a long ball

Over 600 million people live with lower back pain worldwide (according to the World Health Organization) and it is the leading cause of disability, but it doesn’t have to be your new normal!


Why is lower back pain so common?

As we age we will naturally lose height and cushion in our spine as our discs begin to shrink and “dry out”.   How soon we notice and or feel the effects of this change depends on a variety of factors including genetics, activity level, previous injuries, sport history, strength levels, muscle imbalances, occupation history and nutrition.  For many, back pain can seem to randomly appear out of the blue and for others, it can be connected to a specific activity like lifting a heavy object.

Mechanical low back pain, such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, joint pain, disc referral pain, vertebral fractures, SI joint pain and muscle pain/spasms, are what we primarily see at Change The Game Performance.

While back pain is a common result from not exercising regularly, it can also be the result of doing too much activity, lack of flexibility, inadequate strength, improper form or technique in the gym or in whatever sport(s) you participate in.

If you’re a golfer, tennis player, or pickleballer your swing needs to be safe and efficient and you need to have enough flexibility and strength in certain key muscle groups to properly swing and play the sport on a regular basis.


Golfers: A month off is a BIG DEAL to your muscles and joints!

As the weather gets nicer the temptation is to hit the range more often and to jump back to hitting 100+ balls/day. This is a recipe for disaster!

Your body is not used to the stress of swinging a club or hitting balls and joints and muscles take time to adapt. The amount of stress placed on the spine with 1 golf swing is similar to that of an offensive lineman hitting a blocking sled or about 7 to 8 times your body weight of compression force on the spine. Load management is a big part of making sure you decrease your risk of injury.

Your body, just like your car, needs year round maintenance. This means getting into the gym and working on strength and flexibility as well as starting small when it’s time to get back to the game. Building up slowly over a couple of weeks is much different than revving from 0 to 100 mph and likely to save you from failing parts.


What do I do if I haven’t been preparing?

If you’re looking to play more often and have less back pain and tightness, here are some practical steps that you can take to make sure you have the best chance of making that happen!

1. Get Assessed!

Being assessed by a Golf Physical Therapist is a great way to establish areas of strengths and weaknesses. There are 4 key areas they will focus on:

    • Neck
    • Shoulders
    • Spine
    • Hips

If you can move well in these areas, you will decrease your chances of getting back pain.


2. Set goals for a strong future of play!

How strong do you need to be to play golf on a regular basis and have little to no back pain?  As strong as you can be while feeling good and having a good level of flexibility. What does that look like for you? It depends on:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Regularity of play
    • Current fitness level

After an assessment your PT can help you establish the goals to move you forward toward pain free play.


3. Train better

In addition to golf specific physical therapy care, Change the Game Performance has a golf recovery membership, one on one training, and Golf Performance classes to help keep you swinging strong.


Dr. Grant Bishop, PT DPT, TPI Certified


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Additional Resources

Request Your FREE Golf Home Assessment

Add Flexibility to Your Golf Game Blog Series – Part 1



A man in a blue shirt smiling in front of a brick wall.

Dr. Ryan Godfrey

PT, DPT, Owner of Change the Game Performance

We help athletes get back to training pain free, injury free without taking time off.


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