Compared to other sports, golf may seem like one that is not as physically demanding with only a minimal chance of sustaining injuries. There may not be a lot of running, falling, being tackled or breath-holding but golf does cause a considerable amount of wear and tear especially on the joints.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, medical doctors and alternative medicine practitioners took care of over 103,000 injuries that resulted specifically from playing golf at a total cost of $ 2.4 billion in direct and indirect expenses in 2009.
Common golf injuries
The most common golf-related injuries are on the wrist, the elbow and the lower back. These are the areas that are most engaged when taking a golf swing. The shoulder, knee and neck are other areas that are often exerted on during golf resulting in injuries. These make up about 80 percent of golf-related injuries that golfers seek treatment for, more so to the soft tissue.
Apart from pain, golfers may also experience tenderness and/or numbness in the hands and arms, swelling and inflammation of the elbow which is called golfer’s elbow and wrist injuries which are medically referred to as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Interestingly, it is more seasoned players who suffered more injuries than beginners and novices and also, acclimatized players who played often had few if any problems with their elbow. Perhaps this is because good and frequent players know the importance of warming up and how to take a proper swing and body positioning.
Treating golf-related injuries
Golfers took varying approaches to treating their injuries. Most simply kept of the green with only a few seeking medical attention which held the risk of their untreated injuries becoming incapacitating when they returned to the game, took up another game or any strenuous activity.
Treating golf-related injuries through chiropractic
Chiropractic will get hands on, so to speak, on golf-related injuries. Chiropractic is a branch of alternative medicine specializing in health problems arising from the musculoskeletal system by adjusting the spine and the joints. Chiropractic works with the premise that an injury or an out of align spinal bone causes a host of health problems that make the body predisposed to catching illnesses or sustaining injuries.
With golf-related injuries, a chiropractor will not only treat the sore joint, limb or muscle but the entire spine to not only treat the existing ailment but also prevent others by restoring the body’s posture, spinal alignment and muscle strength as the golfer will keep using and straining certain limbs and joints.
Specific injuries are treated using a number of methods, chiefly massage to relieve knots and tension over sore spots and the whole body. Some chiropractors will also use other forms of therapy like applying electric stimulation to the affected area, an ultrasound and the use of braces and other inserts to keep a joint or muscle properly aligned.
To achieve optimum results, a chiropractor will also take a patient’s details like their history and habits to give them an idea of their lifestyle. They will use this information to recommend lifestyle changes such as exercise and fitness routines, the best diet for the patient and they might recommend supplements like vitamins or minerals.
Minimizing Golf-Related Injuries
The following recommendations are some tips to manage and prevent golf-related injuries:
-Easing into the sport and not over-exerting when starting or after a long period of rest or not engaging in any physical activities.
-Using the right equipment such as golf shoes and supportive bands on much-used areas like the arms, knee and elbow.
-Taking a swing correctly and not overusing the wrists too much in an attempt to take the ball as far as possible.
-Not hunching so much as to heighten the likelihood of straining the neck and shoulders.
Warming up and stretching before teeing off to avoid injuries arising from sudden exertion on limbs and muscles when they are still tight.
While golf is a gentle form of sport, it can cause a host of injuries much like other physically demanding sports. Whether playing professionally or for recreation, ensuring optimum musculoskeletal health is crucial, more so for players taking up the game at a mature age as they may have existing conditions and injuries that will be aggravated on the green if they are not cautious earlier on. The same is true for those returning to the game after being out of it for a period of two months or more.