Is Your Golf Swing A Pain In The Neck?

By: DR. HARRY G. SESE, DC, BS, RMT, GOLF IN­JURY & PER­FOR­MANCE SPE­CIAL­IST

Golf Today Northwest - - News - Dr.sese is the Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor at the Wash­ing­ton Golf Per­for­mance In­sti­tute in Belle­vue, WA.

Neck pain while play­ing golf is not nor­mal. Nei­ther is pain af­ter play­ing golf. You prob­a­bly think stiff­ness and sore­ness are okay and nor­mal, but they are not ei­ther. Your neck should feel good be­fore you play, while you are play­ing, and es­pe­cially af­ter you play golf. If you are hav­ing some pain or dis­com­fort, there are sev­eral pos­si­bil­i­ties as to why this may be hap­pen­ing. Here are some ex­am­ples of com­mon causes. Arthri­tis is one of the first things peo­ple blame their neck pain on. Arthri­tis, also known as os­teoarthri­tis, de­gen­er­a­tive joint disease, spondy­lo­sis, and OA-- is a con­di­tion that we will all have at some point. The lo­ca­tion and sever­ity de­pends on each in­di­vid­ual and other fac­tors such as pre­vi­ous in­juries, un­der­ly­ing health is­sues, and pos­si­ble com­pli­cat­ing fac­tors. The one thing “Dear, The Golf­ing Doc; I of­ten have neck pain and stiff­ness. I’m not sure what it’s from. Can this be af­fect­ing my golf swing in any way? Thanks."

— Hank A., Seat­tle, WA we know about arthri­tis is that its symp­toms in­clude morn­ing stiff­ness, im­prove­ment with ex­er­cise, and sore­ness af­ter ac­tiv­ity. The pro­gres­sion is pre­dictable. Stress and mus­cle ten­sion is an­other com­mon cul­prit of neck pain, stiff­ness, and sore­ness. It is true that a lot of peo­ple hold their stress in their neck and shoul­ders. This causes their trapez­ius mus­cles, the big ones at the top of your shoul­ders, to get tight. The more stress and ten­sion you ex­pe­ri­ence, the tighter these mus­cles get. In the end, any tight­ness in these mus­cles can sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect your neck range of mo­tion. In case you are not aware of this, you need good range of mo­tion in your neck for your golf swing. You may have had a les­son and have been told to keep your neck steady; how­ever, it does need to be able to ro­tate. Here is a quick test you can try to see how much your neck ac­tu­ally moves. If you are a right-handed golfer, take the club to the top of your back­swing. Note the re­la­tion­ship and dis­tance be­tween your chin and left shoul­der. See how close they are to each other. Now go into your down­swing and stop at im­pact. Again, note the dis­tance be­tween your chin and right shoul­der. If you stand up, you are ba­si­cally look­ing fully to the left dur­ing your back­swing and

look­ing fully to the right dur­ing your down­swing. Imag­ine if you did not have suf­fi­cient rotation in ei­ther di­rec­tion. Have you ever no­ticed that if you are suf­fer­ing from a kink in the neck and can't move it? Your golf swing is to­tally af­fected! Be­cause of the sen­si­tive struc­tures in and around the neck, it is al­ways rec­om­mended you get a thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion if you are hav­ing any neck pain, stiff­ness, sore­ness, ten­der­ness, or even headaches. All of these symp­toms can be in­dica­tive of some­thing more se­ri­ous. On a pos­i­tive note, the symp­toms may be mi­nor and the is­sue can be treated eas­ily. Proper treat­ment and ex­er­cises can po­ten­tially pre­vent fu­ture neck prob­lems from pro­gress­ing. Here are some neck ex­er­cises you can try at home, at the of­fice, or while play­ing golf. Hold your stretch for about 30 sec­onds and re­peat sev­eral times on each side. If you ex­pe­ri­ence any pain or dis­com­fort dur­ing any of the ex­er­cises, or have any un­der­ly­ing neck con­di­tions, please stop im­me­di­ately and con­sult your physi­cian.

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