Back Pain in Golf


Golf is a more dangerous sport than Rugby!

Golf with other leisure sports have an injury rate of 1.8 per thousand persons per year as opposed to 1.5 per thousand persons per year in rugby and other team sports according to the National Centre for Health Statistics.


Lower back injuries

Lower back injuries account for 15.2% to 34% of all golf injuries, followed by injuries to the elbow (7% to 27%), shoulder (4% to 19%) and wrist 10%.

Incidence of injury among amateur golfers is between 15.8% to 40.9% annually; among professionals, the incidence ranges between 31% to 90% annually.


Golf is a repetitive strain sport

With an average of 300 swings per golf-playing-day, a golfer repeatedly experiences minor traumatic injuries to the spine.


The Swing

Back problems are mainly attributed to how the golf swing of present-day professionals, such as Tiger Woods (the ‘modern swing’/‘the X-factor swing’) that differs from that of golf legends like Jack Nicklaus (‘classic swing’).

The modern swing is more powerful and exerts greater compressive force toward the spinal disc and facet joints.


A long swing with passive wrists and light grip pressure can prevent back issues.

Phil Mickelson – US Golfer

At 45, Mickelson has played without any of the serious back pain unlike most of the major champions like Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.

Back injuries have side-lined the careers of former champions Tiger Woods and Fred Couples several times!


Common back problems in golfers

  • Non-specific lower back pain
  • Stress fracture
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Early degeneration of discs
  • Repetitive stress disorder, among others


How to get things back on track

We can’t tell you how to play golf, but if you’re suffering from repetitive injuries from playing a sport you love, then get in touch and we can show you how to get things back on track.

In the meantime, here’s some great ways to make sure you’re looking after your back generally, with our Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Back.

Golf Fitness Analysis in Durham


Contact a Back Pain therapist today

Contact the team with your questions for information and advice.
Book Online or call 0191 398 0000 to speak to one of the team.


Sources: ‘Sports and recreation related injuries’; Report by the National Centre for Health Statistics, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, February 2019, Barrow Neurological Institute Research Report, Virginia, ‘Physiotherapy and golf injuries’, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.