Golf and Chiropractic: A Natural Combination
The weather is turning warmer and the golf courses are prepped and ready for the golfing enthusiasts to return to their favorite pastime, golf. After a long winter it is important to hit those courses being mindful of what 9 or 18 holes of golf can do to a misaligned, unconditioned spine.
There are several avenues of care that chiropractic can offer golfers, including spinal adjustments, warm-up exercises and anti-inflammatory nutrition. Spinal adjustments are known to be effective in reducing pain and improving spinal mobility.
The golf swing can be stressful and injurious to the lumbar spine. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, exercises that impart the least amount of stress on the lumbar spine are important. Make it a habit to do a warm up routine before you start your round. Swinging your golf club 10 times in the opposite way of your usual swing. Do this before and towards the end of your game. Another good pregame exercise which pumps your spinal discs and loosen up your back is to push against your golf cart extending the spine backwards. Also when using shorter clubs bend at your hips instead of from your low back.
Nutritional factors should also be considered by golfers. Golfers commonly self-medicate with aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help deal with inflammation and pain. These medications are known to cause gastrointestinal ulceration, harm to the liver and reduce connective tissue healing. It would be wise for golfers to adopt a diet that is rich in dark green and other colorful vegetables, which are known to be sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, bioflavonoids and phytochemicals. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are eggs, flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, beef and soybeans. A good source of bioflavonoids are citrus, berries, legumes and onions. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and Vitamin C are useful for enhancing the repair of connective tissues.
If after a round of golf you find yourself stiff and sore, apply ice to the affected areas using the 20 minutes on and 40 minutes off method; repeating as needed if pain persists. Drink plenty of hydrating fluids and keep moving. If in a day or two you are still feeling pain, a spinal adjustment may help get you ready for next weekends golf game.
Misalignments in your spine, hips or pelvis can and do adversely affect your game. If corrected with chiropractic adjustments your golf swing will improve but accuracy is up to you!