TL;DR: Golf requires your body to be able to coordinate complex movements and puts stress on your body. Structural chiropractic helps with that.
Stop! Wait! When is the last time you stood up from your desk!? Has it been more than 15 minutes? Okay, here is what I want you to do. Before you keep reading, stand up, reach as high as you can and stretch. Then lean back as far as you can. Then I want you to put your arms up and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Don’t worry…I’ll wait…
Did you do it? Really? Second chance…go ahead.
Great! I’m glad you that you did that. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a research guy. I read a lot of it. I belong to a research group and I’ve even published research (you can read the summary here). Something I find gets supported more and more with every piece of research I read is that, a better spinal structure will facilitate better function. Now what does all this have to do with golf? Everything.
First we will start with the more obvious – injuries. According to Dr. Tom LaFountain, director of chiropractic services for the PGA, about 80% of the golf related injuries involve the lower back. (1) Golfing requires complex movements that put a lot of strain on the lower back due to the rapid rotation of the trunk and the force generated by swinging the club. This means if your back is operating less than optimally it has a good chance to become injured. It’s not just backs that get hurt either. Based on compiled statistics 19% of the injuries for the PGA were associated with the neck, 7% the shoulder and 6% the elbow, wrist, or forearm. (1) If handled properly, these injuries don’t have to sideline you for an entire season, or worse yet, permanently. Additionally, chiropractic patients have been shown to have better long term results. Follow-ups for patients 1 year after receiving either chiropractic care, medication, or acupuncture showed that those who received chiropractic care showed sustained improvement in 5 of 7 criteria compared to 1 of 7 criteria for acupuncture or medication. (2) Structural Chiropractic typically involves special equipment such as laser therapy, spinal decompression, traction, and/or repetitive motion therapy. This allows all aspects of an injury – soft tissue, bony structures, and affected nerves to be addressed for maximum healing.
Another reason a lot of golfers use chiropractic care is to improve performance. Most people don’t really think about the fact that just because their body isn’t actively hurting doesn’t mean that it’s working very well either. Pain is only one type of response to an injury. Lost flexibility, reduced balance, lost muscle strength, among many other things, are common problems often chalked up to aging, but they don’t have to be. The real reason we have these issues is that our body simply isn’t coordinating optimally. An example of this is that a properly aligned thoracic spine is associated with better lung function (3). The brain and the body coordinate function via the spinal cord, which is housed in the spinal column. Spinal alignment isn’t associated with just pain, it is relevant to all body functions. Nearly three-quarters of all PGA tour golfers use chiropractic. (1) The reason the number is so high is because they rely on their body to be operating at a peak level all year round. Chiropractic care has also been demonstrated to have a significant impact on range of motion (4) an essential part of being a top level golfer.
The last reason so many golfers are seeing chiropractors is longevity. Changes to the spinal structure affect normal physiology. One study demonstrated that different types of compressive loads caused different types of degeneration. (5) This indicates that if you put a repetitive type stress, like say oh swinging a golf club 1000+ times a day, you can cause parts of your spine to wear down faster. A structurally sound joint will reduce the stresses created by these activities. Less friction and inflammation, as well as more normal spinal loading, helps to prevent the degenerative changes which can sideline golf careers permanently.
Why should I care if I’m not a profession golfer, or what if you aren’t a golfer at all? Well, the benefits still apply. We all put repetitive stresses on our body. Whether it is sitting in the same chair at work, carrying the same heavy purse, or just a product of our normal habits, our body is constantly undergoing and adapting to stress. Structural Correction reduces the impact of that stress on your body and promotes healthy long term function as well.