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Common Golf Injuries - Treatment & Prevention

Common Golf Injuries - Treatment & Prevention

Golf is a sport that has a reputation for being boring and is also represented by stereotypes like it’s only older men who play golf. However, golf can be much more dangerous than you would think. According to statistics, 36% of golfers have witnessed a golfer being injured and other golf injuries on the terrain, 20% of which have resulted in life-threatening or severe injuries. 

Here is a list of golf injuries that are most common amongst golfers:

Back Pain

Low, middle, and upper back pain are often symptoms of golf-related injuries. Golf is a sport of muscle memory, and its repetitive movements can lead to inflammation, strains, and other damage to the muscles and discs of the spine that can throw you off your game.

The professional golfers who tee it up each spring at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas and the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth are aware of the benefits of having a correct form and physically preparing for hours of practice and tournament rounds. That is why they have personal trainers who help them with stretching and flexibility.

Rotator Cuff Injury

Dedicated golfers can end up messing up their rotator cuffs. These are the four stabilizing muscles located in each one of your shoulders. Rotator cuff impingements are when the muscles swell and pinch the space between the shoulder and arm bones. A different type of injury happens when one of the tendons or muscles tears. Both of these common types of rotator cuff injuries result in pain and inhibit your game.

To avoid rotator cuff injury, practice correct form as well as apply yourself to regular strength training and stretching the muscles of the shoulders, backs, and abs. If you have already suffered a rotator cuff injury, some people would recommend the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Follow this up with exercises that were designed to strengthen shoulder and back muscles.

Tennis Elbow / Golf Elbow

Tendinitis in the elbows is usually referred to in sports terms. “Tennis elbow” refers to irritation and inflammation of the outer tendon, and  “golf elbow” refers to irritation and inflammation of the inner tendon. What’s very weird is, more golfers usually suffer from tennis elbow than golf elbow, but the result can still be extremely painful.

To prevent tendinitis of any sort, you should make sure that you are using proper swing techniques while you practice. Tendinitis comes up in case of overuse of the tendons involved, so make sure you rotate your practice regimen to let your elbows and arms get adequate rest.

Treating tendinitis is often really simple, although you may have to grit your teeth and put away the clubs while you allow your body to heal properly. The goals in treating tendinitis are to decrease inflammation, lightly strengthen the muscles and tendons, and perfect your swing technique so you do not do this to yourself ever again.

Knee Pain and Damage

As you support the rotation of the hip axis at the start of a swing, you can end up placing a lot of stress and strain on a fragile knee. Knee injuries vary in type and severity, and it is not a secret that knees go through more suffering as you age. If you have noticed knee pain during your games, you should visit your doctor sooner rather than later!

To prevent knee pain, you can lightly stretch your calves, hamstrings, thighs, and core muscles before you head out for a round. Wear good quality shoes with good arch support, and try to use a brace if you feel weakness or twinges.

If you are already suffering from knee pain, you will need a doctor to diagnose the exact problem and to help you decide on the course of treatment. If you decide to ignore knee pain, you could end up doing significant damage, which can have the potential of greatly affecting your ability to play.

Tendinitis in the Wrists

Just like the tendons in the elbows, wrist tendons can sometimes become excessively inflamed and fatigued, which could affect your ability to hold your club correctly (or at all, in more serious cases).

To prevent wrist tendinitis, you could use the off-season to condition and strengthen your wrists and forearms. Some doctors recommend these seven forearm and wrist exercises, which are simple and easy to put together into your current exercise regimen.

Natural Options to Get Relief

Chiropractor

A Chiropractor is a licensed practitioner that uses their hands to aid in relieving problems with the joints, bones, and muscles. It is referred to as a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This means that it is not a conventional medical treatment.

This treatment can also be called joint manipulation or spinal manipulation. A chiropractic adjustment can help in decreasing pain, correcting your body’s alignment and how your body functions physically. Chiropractic adjustments can give you treatment that complements the traditional medical care that you receive.

Chiropractors can help you treat aches, pains, creaks, and strains. In case you have a problem that involves your musculoskeletal system, a chiropractor could offer you alternative methods of treatment that allow you to get your treatment without taking medicine.

Treatments that a chiropractor can suggest are:

  • Adjustments: To softly realign your joints to relieve pain and increase range of motion.
  • Soft-tissue therapy: To ease tight muscles, relieve spasms and minimize tension in the connective tissue that surrounds each muscle (fascia).
  • Exercises and stretches: To restore and keep joint stability and mobility.
  • Joint bracing/taping (Kinesio taping): To support sprained joints or muscles while they heal.
  • Referrals to integrative medicine experts: For advice on nutrition and diet to decrease inflammation and/or to promote healthy eating to maintain a healthy weight.

Naturopath

Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to aid the body in healing itself. It can involve lots of therapies, including herbs, acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, and exercise.

The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat a whole person -- this means body, mind, and spirit. Its aim is also to heal the core causes of an illness -- not just end the symptoms.

A naturopathic doctor could spend 1 to 2 hours examining you. They will ask questions concerning your health history, stress levels, and lifestyle habits. They might order lab tests.

Afterward, they will usually go over your personal health plan. Naturopathic medicine is focused on education and prevention, so your doctor could let you in on diet, exercise, or stress management tips. They could use complementary medicine -- like homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture -- in addition to naturopathic treatments. They could also use touch, such as a massage and pressure, to generate balance in your body. This is called naturopathic manipulative therapy.

Apply a pain-relief cream

Many golf players use pain relief creams to deal with back pain. A lot of different pain-relief creams that can provide some kind of relief from back pain are available in pharmacies and online. Creams that are made up of capsaicin, a compound found in hot peppers, could also help in relieving pain. One study found capsaicin cream to be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain. 

Pain-relief creams that are made up of menthol are believed to have a cooling effect that can temporarily minimize back pain. One study indicates that applying menthol to the skin can desensitize pain receptors in the body. However, using too much menthol can cause a person to be even more sensitive to pain.

Switch shoes

Wearing shoes that do not fit you or that give you no support could result in muscle strains in the back, legs, and even neck. Women wearing high heels, for example, can throw off the body’s alignment, which leads to lower back pain. One study discovered a link between wearing high heels for long periods and having back pain. 

Wearing shoes that are very flat on the bottom could also put added strain on the feet and back. If a person is experiencing recurrent back pain, they should probably consider buying shoes that fit them correctly and support the feet. A podiatrist or foot specialist may help a person in finding proper footwear if necessary.

Apply ice or heat therapy

Ice or heat therapy is very well known for alleviating pain from the golfer’s elbow. It is believed to be a quality at-home remedy for treating the golfer’s elbow.

If the pain from it is occurring somewhere between the first 72 hours, ice therapy (like an ice pack) could aid in alleviating pain from the affected area. However, if the pain is chronic and constant, then heat therapy (such as a heating pad), would be the more appropriate method.

Stretch

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent or minimize muscle soreness is to stretch. It does not matter what your fitness experience is. It is still very important to warm up and cool down the body before workouts and activities. Even if it is just a quick session, you should still take 10 minutes minimum for a head-to-toe stretch. Maybe take notes of areas on the body that feel tighter than others and modify your activity to any limitations your body may have. 

After particularly difficult workouts, you should dedicate another 10-15 minutes later in the day for another session even if it is a swift stretch during commercials when you are on the couch. You will surely be glad you did. Especially when you reach a certain age. Stretching will help you prevent injury, ease soreness, improve your range of motion and reduce body tension.

Homeopathy

What is it?

Homeopathy is a medical system that is based on the belief that the body can heal itself. Those who practice homeopathy use very small amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals. They believe these stimulate the healing process.

How to use it to treat pain?

A simple belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that can bring on the symptoms in a healthy person can also in a very small dose treat sickness with similar symptoms. This is supposed to trigger the body’s natural defense system.

For example, red onions make your eyes water. That is why it is used for homeopathic remedies for allergies.

Homeopathic doctors (who are also referred to as “homeopaths”) dilute these ingredients in  water or alcohol. Then they vigorously shake the mix (succussion) which is part of a process called “potentization.” They believe that this step transfers the healing essence. Homeopaths also have a belief that the smaller the dose, the more powerful the medicine. A lot of these remedies no longer have any molecules of the original substance. They come in lots of different forms, such as sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels, and tablets.

Throughout your appointment, a homeopath will ask many questions about your emotional, mental and physical health. They will prescribe the remedy that suits all of your symptoms the best. Then they will tailor the treatment process for you.

Now, you can also buy over-the-counter homeopathic remedies at drugstores and health food stores. The dosage and quality of these products can depend on the manufacturer so shop safely.

What conditions does homeopathy treat?

It is being used for a wide variety of health issues, of which some are chronic illnesses:

It could also be used for less severe issues like bruises, toothaches, scrapes, nausea, headaches, coughs, and colds.

Golfers often experience low back pain, also known as the “golfer’s torque.” The homeopathic medicine called Magnesia phosphorica, which is made from magnesium, may aid in alleviating cramps and back spasms that are improved by heat. It is ideal for taking after a tough round and when your back feels like it is locked up into a spasm.

Do not use homeopathic medicine for life-threatening ailments, like asthma, cancer, and heart disease, or when it is an emergency. You could also try to avoid using it in place of vaccines. Certain homeopathic products named “nosodes” are marketed as an alternative to vaccines, but there is no research to prove that they are effective.

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