Back Pain and Arthritis are two major problems which prevent a large number of golfers from playing as much golf as they might like to. However there can be a number of other causes for discomfort during a game. This post discusses how to help you avoid enduring pain and stay comfortable during a game.
After a long Winter and Spring, this year’s Summer Golf season is well and truly under-way and fair-weather golfers must have been delighted with the above average number of Sun-filled days we have had in the past few weeks. There are undoubtedly a few golfers who have not been playing as much as they would like to be, due to injury. Arthritis and back pain are of the most common sources of pain during for many golfers, especially for older golfers. The most common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis, mainly occurs in the hands, hips, knees, neck and the lower back. A large amount of golfers play with injuries, mainly related to the lower back, elbows or shoulders. (It is strongly advised that anyone who is playing with injury, should try to rectify the problem before stepping out onto the driving range or golf course )
So here are some tips for before, during and after your game, which may help to prolong your golf season and help to avoid any injury:
Before the Round
Conditioning -It is a good idea to meet with a golf professional before resuming/beginning playing to run through a conditioning programme. Certified pro’s understand how to help injured golfers or golfers who suffer with Arthritis through swing techniques and advice.
Warming-Up - Warm-ups are crucial. Brisk walks and stretches on the practice range are good ways to warm up.
Hydration - The body is usually in a dehydrated state in the morning, so when playing golf early in the morning drink plenty of fluids before to make sure you are properly hydrated.
Nutrition - A small meal 1-2 hours before play is advised. Larger meals in your stomach move blood away from your brain and muscles, which in turn affects performance.
Sports Aids - Specialised grips (help hand arthritis), golf shoes (reduce stress on hips,knees, ankles) and braces for various joints all help to reduce pain during a round.
During the Round
Walking - Minimize time riding in a golf cart if you are able to, switch to walking or riding in the cart every second hole. This protects back muscles from spasm caused by the bouncing of the cart.
Hydrate -Drink plenty of water or sports drinks especially during hotter, humid weather.
Sunscreen - Sunscreen (SPF30 is ideal) and hats are essential during the Summer. Even a mild Irish day can burn skin and a round of golf usually means total exposure for a long period of time.
Snacks - Snacking on foods high in carbohydrates is a good idea-bananas, dried fruits, whole grain energy bars and nuts are all good choices and will keep you going throughout your game.
After the Round
Stretches - Perform static stretches after the game. This will help to decrease muscle tightness and joint stiffness the following day.
Icing - Ice any sore or injured area for 15-20 minutes to reduce any inflammation which may be present.
Hydrate Again and Eat - This ensures the body replaces stores of glycogen (the body’s source of energy) in the muscles which allows for recovery the following day.
If you are suffering with back pain, problems relating to arthritis or any other injuries it is advised that you visit a medical professional such as a doctor or physiotherapist before you play golf or indeed any other sport. Hopefully the above tips can help in some way to prevent injury. Most of all enjoy your golf, and hopefully plenty of games can be played over the coming months! We wish you the best of luck out on the course!!