Tips from the pro: How to golf without hurting your back

Golf is one of the leading causes of neck and back pain. Professional golfer Peter Jacobsen understands the strain that golf places on the spine, as he suffered from back pain for years.Peter suffered from bi-lateral sciatic pain that radiated down both his legs. He tried several forms of conservative treatment to alleviate the pain without success. Peter had minimally invasive surgery with Laser Spine Institute and was competing in a tournament a week later. Since his surgery, Peter has continued to golf competitively.

Because of his experience, Peter understands the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and protecting his back. He realizes that protecting your back during a game of golf is especially important for those who aren’t professionals. So he offered some tips to help you stay in the game without the back pain. Here are some tips for avoiding back pain:

Constantly stretch. When I’m playing golf, I am constantly stretching. When I’m on the tee, I will always kick my leg up onto a bench to stretch out my hamstrings. When I play 18 holes of golf, that’s 4 to 5 hours, that’s a lot of standing. When I stretch as much as possible, it helps to keep my back loose. When you’re sitting in your cart, if you’re waiting on a tee, cross your legs and put your ankle on your knee, and then lean forward. That will help stretch your back.

Move around. I will constantly twist – put a club across my shoulders and rotate back and forth in the direction of a golf swing. I call it a helicopter turn. It keeps my back warm. Obviously, when you’re swinging and hitting a shot, you’re in motion. I find that standing around doesn’t do me any good.

Walk, don’t ride the cart. I don’t play an entire game with a golf cart. I make sure that I don’t sit the entire time. My back will get tight sitting in a cart. I try to walk at least half the hole. I walk to keep my back, glutes, and legs warm.

Fly the ball. Amateurs always come up short by trying to take one extra club to fly the ball to the middle of the green. But, many spend too much worrying about the yards. Play by feel. Don’t worry so much about the yardage.

How do you keep from injuring your back during a game of golf?

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