Lower Back Pain and Golf
The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Lower Back Pain and Golf

Lower back pain is a common problem for golf players. Pain is sometimes attributed to twisting the torso during the swing. The "twisting theory" seemed reasonable, since that is when many people feel the pain. However, the main problem is not twisting. Beside the bad forward bending that is common for picking up golf shots and equipment, a major overlooked source of lower back pain is overarching the spine during the swing.

If you increase the inward curve in the lower back, you increase normal lordosis to hyperlordosis. When you do this during the swing while letting your upper body weight press down on the area, it compresses the facet joints and surrounding soft tissue. It is the same pain that occurs from overarching during walking and running.

A golf pro attended my last workshop on fixing back, neck, and hip pain. I was able to check with her to make sure that what I found to stop lower back pain with golf would not interfere with a good swing.

She stated:

"I do not think arching is essential, but I can imagine the older golfers and what their swings might look like...there are some ugly ones that would arch WAY too much and that is the source of many problems on the score card, as well as the back!"

In the following photo examples, look for too much inward curve in the lower back. Too much curve is not a normal lordosis, it is overarching, called hyperlordosis. Overarching is the reason for much unidentified pain during standing activities.

In the next two drawings, the lower spine is overarched (hyperlordotic) on the left and neutral on the right. Neutral spine keeps a small inward curve, but not a large one:

In these photos, see how the lower back is overarched:

These photos show the lower spine from the back:

In these three photos, see how the lower back is held in neutral spine:

Preventing overarching and holding neutral spine does not mean that you do not get a full or strong swing. It is not the case that the only way to get full range of motion is by pivoting from the lower spine joints. By holding neutral spine you will shift the effort of the swing onto your abdominal muscles, giving you a more powerful swing.

Feel The Healthy Change For Yourself:


Read and contribute your own success stories of these methods.
Before asking questions, see if your answers are already here - click labels under posts, links in posts, archives at right, and the Fitness Fixer Index.
For answers to personal medical questions - Replies to Medical Questions.
Subscribe to The Fitness Fixer, free. Click "updates via e-mail" (under trumpet) upper right.
See Dr. Bookspan's Books, take a Class, get certified
Golf cartoons by subscription to Clipart.com
Golf arched 1 photo by jarrod job
Golf arched 2 photo by subscription to ClipArt.com
Golf arched 3 photo by MattFM
Arched swing from the back photo by digital_image_fan
Neutral swing from the back photo by mahalie
Golf neutral 1 photo by dospaz
Golf neutral 2 photo by minds-eye
Golf neutral 3 photo by Jayel Aheram

  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.