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How can chiropractic help me to play better?
Your body is a very intricate machine. Like any machine, if the gears and hinges are well oiled the machine will function optimally
So, what would happen if there was some rust around one or more of those gears? What would happen if the moving parts of the machine were stuck or not moving as intended? The machine would work less efficiently and not do what it was intended to do properly. The machine would also wear down even faster.
Your body is the same! Arthritis, stiff joints, decreased range of motion all contribute to decreased function – with our without pain!
More than 25 million people enjoy golfing. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of them suffer from chronic pain — mostly back pain.
It’s not difficult to understand why golfers incur back injuries. Most golfers are weekend hackers; they are not in prime condition like Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods. Weekend golfers have weak and underdeveloped core muscles.
As you know, golf is a game of repetitive motions. It requires a repetitive, one-sided torquing of the spine. This is hard on the body. The problem is compounded in amateurs, because they notoriously use poor swing mechanics that cause a greater load or stress on the low back.
Imagine going to the fitness center and working only one side of your body everyday for years and neglecting the opposite side. Golf tends to create this same type of imbalance.
Many golfers contract their bodies into oddly twisted postures, and combine this motion with a bent-over stance, which they repeat 100 times during a time period of three or four hours. Needless to say, these golfers set themselves up for some type of injury.
How injuries occur. The physics of golf injuries.
To make a proper swing, you need unrestricted joint motion in the spine and pelvis. If your joint motion is restricted, you will be unable to make a complete weight shift during the backswing.
Think of your body as a machine that stores and uses energy. In physics, angular momentum can only exist through fixed axis rotation. Your axis is your spine.
It is around the spine that your arms, hands, and golf club rotate. As the spine turns, the body creates a centrifugal motion for the club to follow. To allow this to happen, it is imperative to have a healthy, freely moveable spine, as well as proper muscle balance around the spine.
Golfers have been given faulty advice that not only has a bad effect on their golf shot; it has worse consequences on their back. That bad advice: Keep your head down.
If your head kept popping up, keeping it down would be good advice. But in reality, proper swinging is a posture issue. It’s not a ‘head’ issue. When you keep your head down, you place your chin close to your chest, and this causes excessive curvature in your neck and upper back.
The body works best when the spine is in a neutral, athletic, and balanced position.
In biomechanics, there is a term called hysteresis. It means if you repeatedly stretch a ligament or spinal-disc material to its limit, it will begin to deform and, eventually, start to tear.
If the body is not in the correct position to swing, hysteresis is much more likely to occur. You cannot optimize your performance if you have posture problems, flexibility issues, or muscle groups not performing correctly.
Flexibility is obviously important in making a good golf swing. So is stability. I’m not talking specifically about balance when I mention stability. Rather, I’m talking about your bones being in the correct position in the lumbar spine.
If you have a bone not in the correct position — that is, you have instability in the lumbar spine — you will have a mechanical, as well as a neurological, deficit. The brain does not like the spine to be unstable, and it will protect the spinal column at all costs. It protects it by stabilizing it.
This is how it works: Every time you make a movement, the brain and motor system attempts to stabilize the spine by contracting the innermost core muscles.
Preventing golf injuries.
Good golf posture requires the secondary curves in the cervical and lumbar spine to be in lordosis. This posture provides mechanical leverage for strength and facilitates your ability to rotate.
If you have a collapse of the secondary curves, you get restricted spinal rotation. Then you tend to overswing, and overswinging leads to soft-tissue injuries.
To prevent injuries, get into good condition. Prepare your core muscles. And work on flexibility.
A flexible body is a golfer’s best friend. Warm up before you tee off. Warming up — stretching and making gentle swings to both sides of the body— allows muscles to function better and move over a greater range. Increasing your flexibility reduces chances of injury.”
How chiropractic helps your golf game.
As an athlete — even a weekend golfer — you know the benefit of getting into shape. Regular exercise and stretching will help improve your game.
But something else can improve your game, too: Chiropractic care. Even if you are not in pain from a golf injury, you can benefit from chiropractic care, which improves posture, increases and improves flexibility, restores proper nerve function, and increases secondary curves to improve rotation.
Many people are bad about going to the doctor. They wait until they hurt, and then go to get out of pain. This is not the best way to take care of yourself. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, keep your body right.
Professional golfers use chiropractic care on a regular basis. They get adjusted before they play, and of course, they get adjusted after they play. Tiger Woods once stated that he could not have won the PGA without chiropractic!
Call today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation!
Links of interest:
Swing Myths that Promote Injury
I recently wrote an article that discussed many of the myths associated with modern golf instruction.2 One of the biggest myths involves the notion that club head speed at ball impact is dependent on maximum spinal rotation during the backswing. In this regard, the term “x-factor” has been coined to describe the difference (in degrees) between hip position and shoulder position at the top of the backswing. Many instructors advocate this theory and recommend that golfers keep their pelvis as stationary as possible while the spine is maximally rotated. These swing positions are popular because it is believed that maximal spinal rotation somehow engages the “big” muscles of the back, allowing for a sling-shot effect during the downswing, i.e., the modern golf theory of power generation.
With respect to the “big muscle” theory, we are never told how maximal spinal rotation helps to engage spinal muscles or muscles such as the latissimus dorsi. Nonetheless, it is difficult to understand why modern golf instruction would promote such concepts. Regarding spinal muscles, it is known that they provide only five percent of the torque generated during spinal rotation, the abdominal obliques doing nearly all the work.3
Like the spinal muscles, the latissimus dorsi have nothing to do with generating spinal rotation. Nor is maximal spinal rotation necessary for the latissimus dorsi to perform its normal function, i.e., adduction, medial rotation and extension of the humerus.4
The true source of power generation in the golf swing involves the creation of elastic energy, which is thought to be the power generator for most athletic maneuvers.2 Briefly stated, elastic energy is created by imparting a short, quick stretch on the muscles involved in performing a particular movement. In the case of the golf swing, it is generally thought that the rotator cuff, latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major muscles are the “power muscles,”2 as well as the muscles of the arm and forearm. To effectively pre-stretch these muscles, no spinal rotation is needed.
The only purpose for pelvic and spinal rotation in the backswing is to achieve a body position that allows for effective club head delivery at ball impact. There are three main reasons to urge your patients to adopt a short backswing that reduces spinal rotation:
Watkins explains that golfers should keep their shoulders and pelvis parallel to each other throughout the majority of the golf swing. He calls this rigid parallelization, the loss of which can generate rotational strain in the lumbar spine.5With this information in mind, you can imagine how stressful and injurious the golf swing can be when golfers try to achieve a large x-factor. This swing method is dangerous and should be abandoned.
There are several avenues of care that chiropractors can offer golfers, including spinal adjustments, preventive swing advice, rehabilitation exercises and anti-inflammatory nutrition. As most DCs know, spinal adjustments are known to be effective in reducing pain and improving spinal mobility. While the adjustment provides these beneficial outcomes, it is important to realize that adjustments cannot prevent injury. For this reason, DCs need to urge their golfing patients to reduce spinal rotation during the swing to lessen the chance of torsional injury. Golfers should be urged to adopt the principle of rigid parallelization throughout the golf swing, which requires rigid abdominal control.5
As previously alluded to, an aggressive lumbar spine rehabilitation program should be instituted as both a therapeutic and preventive measure. The golf swing is inherently stressful and injurious to the lumbar spine. Thus, it is very important to make sure the lumbar spine’s stabilization mechanism is well- trained. Treating golfers without taking this into consideration can lead to reinjury and dependence on passive care. Research has recently demonstrated that lumbar stabilization exercises can reduce pain and disability in patients with spinal instability caused by spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.6 McGill has recently discussed the stabilizing exercises that impart the least amount of stress on the lumbar spine, which included the cat stretch, curl-ups, isometric horizontal side support, and the quadruped track of exercises.7 These exercises will also help golfers develop the rigid abdominal control needed to maintain pelvis and shoulder parallelization during the swing to reduce torsional strain.
Nutritional factors should also be considered when treating golfers. As mentioned earlier, golfers commonly self-medicate with aspirin and NSAIDs to help deal with inflammation and pain. These medications are known to cause gastrointestinal ulceration 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 other phyto-chemicals. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, ginger, turmeric, Boswellia and bromelain can add additional anti-inflammatory support,8 while supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are useful for enhancing the repair of connective tissues.8,9
Very few golfers hit the fairways armed with the modest amount of information presented in this article. Even if you do not play golf, that should not stop you from engaging the golf market, as golfers desperately need the services provided by chiropractors.
Excerpted from http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=36206
Foot Levelers Orthotics Improve Balance and Proprioception
Effects of Nine Holes of Simulated Golf and Orthotic Intervention on Balance and Proprioception in Experienced Golfers David E. Stude, DC, Danielle K. Brink, DC
Objective: To measure improvements in balance and proprioception, before and after nine holes of simulated golf, in experienced golfers, after wearing Foot Levelers custom-made orthotics continuously for six weeks.
Methods: Subjects were tested using the Cybex Functional Assessment System for Testing and Exercise. The tests challenged human performance skills beyond those required for golf, to provide the relative effects of orthotic intervention for all individuals. Foot Levelers orthotics were used for the investigation because of their abilities to control motion and absorb shock.
Results: Balance and proprioception before and after nine holes improved with orthotic use. More specifically, proprioceptive inequalities between left and right sides were not apparent after wearing the orthotics on a daily basis during the six-week period.
Discussion: Joint motion affects proprioception and it is well documented that disturbances in the proprioceptive feedback mechanism cause biomechanical disabilities. Lower-limb proprioception training in non-injured individuals can prevent many injuries.
Conclusion: Orthotics are made to address structural deficiencies, such as excessive pronation and arch integrity, and minimize differences in structural alignment. In a small population of experienced golfers, Foot Levelers’ custom-made, flexible orthotics improved symmetrical balance ability and enhanced proprioception.
Foot Levelers Orthotics Improve Gait, Reduce Fatigue
Effects of Orthotic Intervention and Nine Holes of Simulated Golf on Gait in Experienced Golfers David E. Stude, DC, Jeff Gullickson, DC
Objective: This investigation evaluated the effects of orthotic intervention on gait patterns and fatigue associated with nine holes of simulated golf.
Methods: Gait was assessed before and after nine holes of simulated golf, utilizing video freeze-frame analysis. Subjects wore Foot Levelers custom-made, flexible orthotics daily for six weeks and then gait was reassessed. Fatigue was introduced by having participants complete a nine-hole round of golf, before and after wearing Foot Levelers orthotics.
Results: Foot Levelers orthotics had a positive influence on stride length and pelvic rotation, components of gait, symmetry of gait movements, and reduced the effects of fatigue.
Discussion: The foot and ankle have considerable potential for influencing the function of areas above the lower extremity. Foot Levelers have already been shown to improve balance, proprioception, and osseous alignment, suggesting that foot function can influence whole-person activities.
Conclusion: After wearing Foot Levelers orthotics for a six-week period, test subjects demonstrated a 29-36% average increase in pelvic rotation, with similar changes in stride length. Orthotics also reduced the effects of fatigue.