Is your Tiger Woods Swing ruining your Back?

You may have seen this article on the BBC recently.

It is certainly food for thought however there are a couple of areas you need to consider. I have broken this down into 3 main areas for ease;

1. Are you a Tiger Woods?

Tiger Woods has a long injury history related to his golf. This has meant that over time the stresses on his body have been transferred to other regions to allow his incredible swing to continue.

Look at this list of injuries;

December 2002: Woods has surgery to remove fluid from around the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of his left knee.

April 2008: Arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage to his left knee.

June 2008: Woods has reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.

May 2010: Injury diagnosed as an inflamed facet joint in his neck.

April 2011: A \’minor\’ injury to his left knee and Achilles\’ tendon, one that he claimed to have suffered at the Masters earlier in the month.

May 2011: Injury diagnosed as both a sprain of the MCL ligament in his left knee and a strain to the left Achilles\’ tendon, and Woods ultimately misses three months of action.

March 2012: An injury to his left Achilles\’ tendon.

June 2013: Left elbow strain.

March 2014: Lower back spasms.

April 2014: Surgery for a pinched nerve in his back

August 2014: An injury stemmed from an awkward lie on the second hole that sent Woods back into a fairway bunker after impact. “Just jarred it,\” he said, \”and it’s been spasming ever since.”

February 2015: In his second start of the year, Woods walks off after completing 11 holes of his opening round at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a back injury.

September 2015: A second microdisectomy surgery two days prior to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve.

October 2015: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone a \”successful\” procedure as a follow-up to his latest back surgery. Intended to \”relieve discomfort,\”.

February 2017: Back spasms

April 2017: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone \”successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg.\”

This is a chap who is pushing his body to the limit and beyond. He is transferring load from knee and Achillies problems and it is highly likely this has not helped his back through the later stages of his career.

It is likely you might have an injury history that is loading your joints excessively. You need to find out how your biomechanics are working and where the area that needs to be addressed is lying. You need expert assessment and diagnosis to understand these issues more fully.

2. Is it your swing causing all the problems?

Essentially it is not just the swing that needs to be considered here, it is the professional sportsperson in action. Tiger Woods is a phenomenal golfer and as such has not only created a thriving business from his golfing success but has been able to have the best environment to work in. He will have access to a great golf coach, he has a caddie to discuss his game with, he will have a physiotherapist and massage therapist to keep him in good shape (especially as the injuries take there toll) and he will have someone helping him with his strength and conditioning side too.

This has all lead to him developing a strong yet stressful golf swing, allowing him to get to the very top of his game.

So before you panic you are stressing your back and will get injured consider your game. How many balls you hit a week by comparison? Have you been working on an X factor golf swing with your coach? It is unlikely you are placing anywhere near the same level of stress on your body or back.

3. Your swing is unique, developed by you related to how you move, how you function and how your body has adapted over time. As Shirley Sahrmann quoted once;

Musculoskeletal pain syndromes are seldom caused by isolated precipitating events, but are the consequences of habitual imbalances in the movement system.’ Sahrmann

You need to understand your movement patterns fully to understand if your back complaint is due to your swing or your swing has developed around your movement patterns. The later is the more likely so changing your swing will just transfer the load to another area of the body. Therefore a new injury issue is likely to arise, and that is if this resolves the current problem.

Be careful how you address your gold swing, how it is changed and understand why you currently swing the way you do. It is the area least addressed in golf currently to develop good movement to allow a good golf swing to develop.

Happy golfing.