Build Your Own Team

Golf Today Northwest - - Contents - By: Dr. Harry G. Sese, DC, BS, RMT, Golf In­jury & Per­for­mance Spe­cial­ist

As a Cer­ti­fied Chi­ro­prac­tic Sports Physi­cian, I see a va­ri­ety of sports in­juries. Golf has a ten­dency to cause com­mon in­juries that in­clude lower back pain, wrist pain, hip pain, and even neck pain. In­ter­est­ingly, skill level does not nec­es­sar­ily dic­tate what in­juries you are more prone to. In fact, an in­jury can hap­pen to any­one; a golfer, a caddy, a spec­ta­tor, or even a coach can end up with a golf-re­lated in­jury. If your body is not ag­ile and work­ing as best as it can, it will be dif­fi­cult for you to play your best golf. For ex­am­ple, I want you to think of your body as a race car. If you are rac­ing in the Day­tona 500 and you have one tire that is worn out, you will still be able to get around the track, but likely not as fast as the other race cars. You’ll make it to the end of the race, but you’ll likely be all over the track, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lack of con­trol of your ve­hi­cle. So as the driver, what should you

“Dear ‘The Golf­ing Doc’; I know you work with sev­eral PGA Tour play­ers and you men­tioned that most of the top play­ers in the world now have teams that work with them. What kind of team is this? And is this only for tour play­ers? Thanks."

—Jeff B. Seat­tle, WA

do? Well, a skilled driver is go­ing to pull into the pit and have his or her crew fix that tire as well as any­thing else that needs tun­ing up. Af­ter a few quick ad­just­ments, the car is back to top form and is ready to race again. So why not think of your body as a high per­for­mance race car? You are the driver of that race car. If some­thing is not right with your body, how will you play your round of golf at your fullest po­ten­tial? Any time your body ex­pe­ri­ences pain, sore­ness, stiff­ness, or some type of old or new in­jury, it cre­ates move­ment com­pen­sa­tions. By this I mean that your body will adapt to these sen­sa­tions in or­der to avoid pain or in­jury. In golf, this can be very detri­men­tal be­cause the move­ment pat­terns for golf are so spe­cific. If you have back pain or have had an episode in the past, I bet it has been hard try­ing not to block or push that ball with each swing. Driv­ing your hips for­ward to­wards the ball is a sub­con­scious com­pen­sa­tion your brain has made in or­der to avoid a pos­si­ble ir­ri­ta­tion to your back. Even if you don’t have back pain any­more, that move­ment has en­grained it­self into your swing and needs to be cor­rected. So who should be in your “pit crew”? My

rec­om­mended pit crew con­sists of four main team mem­bers. First, you should have a good golf in­struc­tor to help you with your swing tech­nique. De­pend­ing on your skill level, you may not need reg­u­lar lessons but you should have an in­struc­tor in the pit when your swing is feel­ing off. Sec­ond, you should have a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional on your team. This per­son could be a chi­ro­prac­tor, phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, or even a mas­sage ther­a­pist. You need some­one to make sure your body, the “race car”, is per­form­ing at its high­est po­ten­tial. This med­i­cal pro­fes­sional can help you with any health prob­lems that need to be fixed or min­i­mized. Third, you should have a golf-spe­cific fit­ness trainer to help im­prove your over­all con­di­tion­ing, mo­bil­ity, and sta­bil­ity. Ideally, what your trainer does with you should be guided or su­per­vised by your med­i­cal pro­fes­sional. This will help re­ha­bil­i­tate any in­jured ar­eas and also guide your con­di­tion­ing based on your body’s needs. And fi­nally, the fourth mem­ber of the pit crew is you! You ul­ti­mately drive the race car. If you want to play pain-free golf, bet­ter golf, or sim­ply be able to play en­joy­able golf as you grow older, then put to­gether your team. If you need fur­ther rec­om­men­da­tions about putting to­gether the right team for you-- or would like to work with my team-- feel free to con­tact me.

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