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How to Fix Golf Back Pain

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Understand what moves cause back pain in the golf swing and how to fix them.

Hey, Rotary Swing golfers. Chuck Quinton here, founder of Rotary Swing with my best friend and hopefully, your new best friend, the mirror, which is your best training aid in the world.  I want to help you understand how to start fixing back pain in your golf swing. So many golfers struggle with some sort of back ailment that's due to their golf swing and every time they go out and play golf it flares up and gets worse. They take a few days off, they feel a little better, they go out and play golf, all of a sudden their back pain's there.

                Well, guess what. Your golf swing is causing the back pain. You may have some sort of preexisting condition, but if your back hurts every single time you play golf, you need to look at what you're doing with your swing. The great thing about RST, as you know, is that we look at everything from an anatomical and biomechanics perspective to make sure that you're pain and injury free. There's no reason for your back to bother you when you're swinging a golf club.  I'm going to address each issue that is most common that we see all the time and show you how to fix it.

                The first thing starts right from set up.  I'm going to check myself out in the mirror here and make sure that when I set up, particularly if I was looking down the line, technically I'm looking up the line but I can see the same thing. As I hinge forward, I want to make sure that I don't have a lot of curvature in my low back. What does that look like from your perspective? If my back is sticking out and my belly is kind of bulging forward, what you need to do is take your belly button and pull it in. You'll feel as if somebody had a string attached to your belly button and they're pulling it through your back and it will pull your belly button in. Your lower abdominals main job, apart from holding your guts in, is to protect your lower back and keep you from creating lordosis or too much lower back curvature.

                One of the number one common back pain issues in the golf swing starts right from setup and if you start set up with a lot of curvature in your spine because you didn't pull your belly button in at address, it's going to continue to get worse throughout your whole swing because your back's in a position where it's not in neutral joint alignment. The simple fix is from set up all you do, pull your belly button in and all of a sudden you're going to feel that your lower back has support from your abdominals. If you struggle with this you need to do some ab exercises. There's tons and tons of ab exercises out there, obviously, so work on doing some simple ones that are going to help you strengthen your abdominal wall. If you've kind of gotten used to sitting and letting your belly stick out all the time, it will dramatically impact your golf swing. So make sure that you get used to pulling your belly button in every single time at address. That's the number one issue.

                Number two issue. When people set up with no axis tilt that's a huge pet peeve of mine. Our axis tilt, we know, take a club shaft and just slide it into my knee. When people set up like this and they go to the top, all of a sudden they're starting to compress this lower left side in their back because they've let their hips slide out. Those are two directly related problems. If you don't have enough axis tilt at set up, as you start to shift to the right at all your hips are going to start moving too far to the right, which is going to tilt your spine back the other way and going to kink your lower back on the left side. Really, really common back pain issue. The obvious fix here, have axis tilt at set up and make sure that your right hip doesn't slide past this right hip line. If you don't know what that is, take a look at the right hip line video. Make sure your hip doesn't slide past this line so that your lower back doesn't get kinked.

                Those two things are directly related to each other and it's a really, really common low back pain issue, especially if you have sciatic pain in the left side of your back for right-handed golfers. Check your axis tilt and check your hip slide as you go back. If you have these two things, the only way you're going to know, guess what? You've got to video your swing. Don't be lazy. You need to see what you're doing in order to diagnose and fix these problems.  You can't just go by what you feel.  Video your swing and if you see your hip moving past this imaginary line that it's at at address, your spine is almost definitely going to be leaning toward the target at the top of the swing, which also leads to a reverse pivot. Axis tilt, right hip line.

                The third most common back pain issue comes from the downswing stuff. We've addressed one set up issue, one backswing issue and now one downswing issue. The downswing issue all comes from pushing off the right leg way too hard. As you do this, as you'll see from down the line, as I push hard off my right leg notice what happens to my pelvis. You've seen our video on the tush line, watch what happens to my tush line. It moves in toward the ball because that's the only thing this right leg's going to be able to do. As you push off of it, it's going to move your hips into the ball, which is going to cause you to stand up. You're going to look like this at impact, which also creates a lot of stress on your spine. The trick for that, hopefully you know this by now, is not to push off your right leg. If I pull from the left, watch what happens to my tush line. I actually stay in the same spine angle or even increase it by moving from the correct side of my body. If you're pushing off the right side, if you're losing your tush line, I guarantee you're pushing off the right side. If you're doing this and leading into this really uncomfortable back position, you're going to tear up your back.

                Hopefully those three things will help you address back pain and get rid of it forever because you should never, ever hurt your back swinging a golf club correctly.


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"I think he's come very close to a golf swing model that appears to be ideal...It's a big muscle, motor-driven swing that's repeatable...You don't have to be a super athlete."

-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee

"I started playing at 70 years old, at the beginning I was scoring around 100 plus... Following the RST 5 Step System my scores are in the 80 to 86 range. I am out-hitting guys in their 40's and 50's, thanks to you and your system. My back or other muscles never ache, nor am I tired after 18 holes. I am so glad I found your technique and system."

-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com

"I can honestly say that Rotary Swing has completely revolutionized the way I think about the golf swing...The website is without a doubt the best golf instruction resource anywhere on the internet."

-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK


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