Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Execution, Not Excuses: Low Back Pain

I work very closely with golfers and I think I have heard the words "low back pain" everyday for the last 349 days straight. However, when I probe into what types of exercises and modalities that have used to alleviate their pain, I hear the same response: "nothing". That response is followed by the following:

"I try to stretch it"
"I ride a cart rather than walk to spare my back."
"I try to warm up before I play."
"I just take some over-the-counter medicine to keep the pain bearable".

It sounds like a whole-lotta excuses and not enough execution. Upon meeting a new client with back pain, I'll observe static posture and gluteal performance. If I see any evidence of an atrophied gluteal muscle, the first step is helping to bring that muscle up to par. As I detailed in this article, gluteal function is the "anchor" of the entire posterior chain and without it, the lumbar spine must compensate for movements and absorb sheer forces.

The first and most effective way to get people to "feel" their glute muscle fire is the Quadruped Glute/Hip Extension. In the video below, I use a dowel placed on my back. The dowel serves as a reference point of contact for the back of the head, scapulae, and buttocks. This drill is excellent for teaching my golfers how to engage the glutes in an isolated movement.

Each of these areas MUST remain in contact with the dowel during the actual execution. The movement is fairly small--and is highly dependent on glute firing, core activation, and absolutely no lumbar extension throughout the movement. When all contacts remain on the dowel, it makes for a very challenging movement--but one that is surely effective.

Doing something about low back pain is never an easy feat. But an initiative must be made that is proven and sound. Things like this don't add up:

For more on defeating low back pain, try this.


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