By Stephanie Nolting
I often work with people who love to golf. It is very rare for someone to come to me from hurting their back during golf. Instead, I meet people who have had to give it up (usually temporarily) because of back pain.
There are some severe situations when a surgeon will not let someone return to golf after a fusion because of the rotation and torque in the spine. However, if you have back pain and no history of surgery, don’t give up what you love!
Back pain can be relieved with physical therapy even if you have had it for years or have an x-ray or MRI that has “bad news”. We can change the muscular support around joints in the spine to change your pain (without surgery). Bending, lifting and twisting are typically the basic moves that trigger back pain. Often, we need to retrain our muscles how to move, more specifically, how to relax the right muscles at the right time during movement. We are usually great at turning on muscles for voluntary movement (meaning we command those muscle to move with brain activity); we do this all day long. We think of scratching our head and this triggers our brain to decide what muscles to turn on and get that task done. In that seemingly easy task, the brain is very specific not only to turn on the right muscles but how much and how fast (you don’t want to punch yourself in the head!). The brain is also calculating which muscles to lengthen or relax while the main movers are shortening to create the desired movement. If all the arm muscles turned on at the same time, then you would just be flexing your muscles and not moving anywhere.
Though my example is reaching for your head and what arm muscles do, the exact same thing happens everywhere in the body including the back and core muscle. Most people believe that if they have pain something must be weak. Pain often comes from too much tightness and tension in muscles not coordinating with each other at the right time.
If you need help finding what muscles are responsible for your pain so you can get back to doing what you love, I would be more than happy to help!