Christine has been an active writer since childhood. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. Later, she received her Medical Doctorate from the same institution. She practiced medicine for 15 years and is currently a writer/editor. During this time she received her AS degree in Criminal Justice and currently volunteers for two nonprofit corporations in Minneapolis which have the legal system as their primary focuses.
It’s not uncommon for women golfers to come off the course with a little back or shoulder pain. When the pain persists or lasts from game to game, however, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the body and evidence that there is something wrong with your game of golf. Shoulder pain is more common than back pain but both can be present when playing golf. Back pain usually occurs in the middle to upper back but can occur in the lower back itself.
The Mechanics of Golf: Shoulder and Back Pain Basics
When women golfers swing the club, the act of swinging uses the trapezius muscle, a large muscle, which extends in a triangular shape from the neck out to the shoulders and down the middle of the back. This muscle is very sensitive to repetitive motion and to the jarring of the shoulder and upper back during the striking of the ball. In addition, it gets stretched during the follow-through in the act of playing golf. Shoulder pain and back pain begin when there is overuse of the trapezius muscle and the pain can become chronic and unrelenting. The pain can extend from the neck to the shoulders and down to the middle of the back where the muscle inserts. The pain is often caused by inflammation of the affected areas in the neck, back or shoulders. Women golfers are particularly prone to this condition and need to understand ways of preventing and treating it.
Before Golf: Back Pain and Shoulder Pain Exercises
Prevention of this type of inflammation begins with pre-game exercises that help strengthen and improve the flexibility of the trapezius muscle. Exercises begin with bending over and stretching one’s arms as close to the floor as possible. This stretches the long portion of the trapezius and relaxes the neck. Then one should take the club and hold it horizontally at shoulder level with both hands. Bend to the right as far as possible and bend to the left as far as possible. Many women golfers do this also with the horizontal club held at shoulder height with the club behind them, stretching the trapezius muscle even further. Anyone with access to a gym should exercise with “lat pulls” to strengthen the trapezius muscle.
After Golf: Shoulder Pain and Back Pain Treatments
Even with the best of prevention, it’s possible for women golfers to come down with an inflammation of the trapezius muscle. The pain can interfere with one’s golf game and can be nearly constant. Sometimes there is point pain and tenderness settles in just one area of the trapezius muscle. The treatment of such pain is rest of the affected area or areas, anti-inflammatory medication, massage of the affected area and, in extreme cases, a cortisone injection to the point of greatest tenderness with the idea of getting back on the course once the pain has become more tolerable. Side effects of anti-inflammatory medication can include stomach upset or stomach ulcers if taken chronically. Cortisone can raise the blood sugar and should be used sparingly.
Resources to Help
You may want to try Fit Golf For Women. With paid membership, you will receive a customized exercise curriculum to help ease your back and shoulder pain. In the process, you may also opt to follow further suggestions and lose weight. The bonus is you will also improve your swing and ultimately your game. There are dozens of very satisfied women golfers who subscribe to this excellent resource.