Managing Mobility Restrictions in Golfers

By Riley Kerr, PT, DPT, ATC, TPI

>> Request an Appointment

Golf is one of the most frustrating sports in the world. Those who know, know (trust me… I’m
one of those that really knows.) For many, the pursuit of the perfect golf swing is often made
more frustrating by injuries and pain that hinder performance and overall enjoyment of the
game. Most often, this pain happens in the low back. Golf is literally a pain in the back.

So why do so many golfers experience low back pain and what can we do about it?

Understanding the Kinetic Chain

The golf swing places enormous demand on the body and requires a coordinated effort from each body part, from the feet to the hands – we call this the kinetic chain. Due to the repetitive
nature of the sport, breakdown in any part of this kinetic chain can cause a ripple effect resulting
in overuse or underuse of any particular body segment. When one part of the body lacks mobility or flexibility, neighboring segments are forced to compensate, often leading to abnormal stress and strain on the low back. Two of the most common areas of restriction that lead to compensatory patterns are the hips and the mid-back.

Hip mobility is crucial for an efficient golf swing. Rotation is particularly important in the trail hip
(right hip for right-handed golfers). Limited hip rotation forces the low back to compensate and
move through an excessive range of motion to allow for a full backswing. During the downswing,
this range of motion has to reverse quickly and forcefully. It is this repetitive, forceful back-and-
forth motion that eventually leads to low back pain.

A similar phenomenon occurs when thoracic (mid-back) mobility is restricted. Decreased range
through the mid and upper back again forces the low back to make up for the restriction. Compensations ultimately lead to excessive stress and strain on the low back, eventually
causing low back pain.

Addressing the Issue: Mobility and Flexibility Exercises

Tackling mobility restrictions in the hips, mid back, and upper back are some of the easiest and
best ways to eliminate low back pain in golfers. Below are some of my favorite exercises to
address those deficits.

Open Books

Quadruped Rock to Thoracic Rotation

90/90 Hip Rotation

Standing Supported Pelvic Rotation

If you struggle with any of these exercises or want to know more about managing your low back
pain, reach out to a physical therapist today!

Related Posts

September 4, 2020
By Evolution Physical Therapy
September 3, 2020
By Evolution Physical Therapy
September 2, 2020
By Evolution Physical Therapy
August 31, 2020
By Evolution Physical Therapy