Golf and Chiropractic


Last week I got a pretty awesome text I wanted to share. It was from my old high school golf teammate, Kim Donovan, who was an All American on the Duke Women's Golf team. Kim said, "OK, I've decided I'm going to make a push for the LPGA tour IF you get me out of pain."


Seriously, best text ever. Why? It's been my childhood dream to become a professional golfer and make the tour. My dad and I used to always joke about moving to Florida when I made it and playing golf all over the world. Fast forward: I didn't make a golfer...BUT, could I make it as a treating physician? Yes, I believe I can.

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So what can chiropractors do for golfers?

Here's my thought process for a high level golfer who seeks both pain elimination and increased performance... (After watching her swing)

Initial Swing Evaluation: Searching for the Cause of Her Pain

*Patient appears to lack anterior stability through the hitting zone and into the follow-through that allows the lumbar spine to hyperlordose and jam the facets. I also imagine there is some lack of hip internal rotation causing the lumbar spine to get chewed up into excess rotation through the swing causing pain and inflammation locally.

*Initial Rehab and Functional Corrections will focus on 3 things:

1. Core Stability: This will stabilize the excess movements through the lumbar spine and reduce the risk for further injury and progress treatment faster and hold treatment pain relief longer through the round by building endurance.

  • Side Plank hold until failure
  • Dead Bug
  • Bird Dog
  • Curl Up 
  • Glute Bridge
  • Glute Med Walk with Band

2. Hip Mobility: Increasing hip internal rotation. (If congenital antroverted hips, may need to flare out lead foot to get this.)

  • Side Line Hip Internal Rotation with Band
  • Tri Planar Hip mobility to open up all ROM

3. Thoracic Mobility:

  • Kneeling Thoracic Rotation - 2x sets 10 reps each side
  • Cat Camel 10-15 reps focusing on only thoracic mobility

*Progression into performance once stability and endurance have been established

  • Chop and Lift
  • Russian Twists with Med Ball
  • Advanced Ball Work
  • Kettle Ball Swings
  • Tri Planar and Single Leg Glute Firing in all Planes
  • Farmer Walks with Different Weights For Side Bracing Endurance

All of these will improve with physical treatment as I work on fixations, soft tissue adhesions, facial train hypertonicity, and the rehab will improve her instability. I will also look to balance her adrenal/thyroid axis for ligamentous integrity and inflammation levels. Supplements, homeopathy and emotional work will be used on an as-needed basis through physical exam, history and manual muscle testing. Restoring normal breathing patterns, abdominal bracing, and increasing intra-abdominal pressure with DNS and Triple Flexion positions is definitely in order for lasting relief, stability and performance.

Prognosis and Goals:

  • Pain Relief:  1-2 weeks
  • Rehab Level 1: 2 weeks
  • Advanced Rehab: 2-4 weeks with ongoing RE-eval for increased performance, variety and goals.

Well, that was just a window into my head on what I was thinking while treating a Division 1 athlete and hopefully a professional athlete soon! Chiropractic has a lot of incredible tools, my friends! LEARN THEM! You can never have too many tricks in your pocket for the tough patient that comes along.

Stay Sharp,