Golf with other leisure sports have an injury rate of 1.8 per thousand persons per year as opposed to 1.5 per thousand persons per year in rugby and other team sports according to the National Centre for Health Statistics.
Lower back injuries account for 15.2% to 34% of all golf injuries, followed by injuries to the elbow (7% to 27%), shoulder (4% to 19%) and wrist 10%.
Incidence of injury among amateur golfers is between 15.8% to 40.9% annually; among professionals, the incidence ranges between 31% to 90% annually.
With an average of 300 swings per golf-playing-day, a golfer repeatedly experiences minor traumatic injuries to the spine.
Back problems are mainly attributed to how the golf swing of present-day professionals, such as Tiger Woods (the ‘modern swing’/‘the X-factor swing’) that differs from that of golf legends like Jack Nicklaus (‘classic swing’).
The modern swing is more powerful and exerts greater compressive force toward the spinal disc and facet joints.
A long swing with passive wrists and light grip pressure can prevent back issues.Phil Mickelson – US Golfer
At 45, Mickelson has played without any of the serious back pain unlike most of the major champions like Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.
Back injuries have side-lined the careers of former champions Tiger Woods and Fred Couples several times!
We can’t tell you how to play golf, but if you’re suffering from repetitive injuries from playing a sport you love, then get in touch and we can show you how to get things back on track.
In the meantime, here’s some great ways to make sure you’re looking after your back generally, with our Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Back.
Sources: ‘Sports and recreation related injuries’; Report by the National Centre for Health Statistics, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, February 2019, Barrow Neurological Institute Research Report, Virginia, ‘Physiotherapy and golf injuries’, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.