After a long day of hitting the links, your body will no doubt feel the effects of repetitive, strenuous swings, and walking around on your feet for a long stretch of time.
Over a period of time, the golfer’s swing, even when performed correctly, can tax the body and lead to muscle imbalance, plus cause wear and tear on ligaments and tendons.
This can lead to overuse injuries such as golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, a form of elbow tendonitis in which the tendons on the inner side of the elbow become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort—among other maladies.
But sports massage, which can be done before or after (or both) is a helpful way to lessen the likelihood of injuries while reducing recovery time, and improving endurance and flexibility, making the game a fun and healthy outlet for you.
Three Components of the Golf Swing:
Helping you understand the golf swing better, you first have to know that it can be broken down into three phases: backswing, downswing and follow-through.
The backswing requires a great deal of hip rotation, so limited flexibility in this area will lead to poor performance and possible injury. What a sports massage therapist will do is provide release of the gluteus muscles (buttocks), along with the hip adductors and abductors, to help increase range of motion, thus rotational force.
For hardcore golfers and weekend warriors alike, the piriformis muscle, located in the gluteal region, can be compromised over time, impinging the sciatic nerve and cause pain. The pain can be severe and extend down the length of the sciatic nerve (called sciatica). Therefore, having it massaged on a regular basis may help avoid any possible flare-ups from overuse, or provide some relief when it does occur.
As for more rotational power, your trunk, shoulders and additional core muscles also play a major role. So a sports massage therapist will work on your obliques, lower back muscles (including quadratus lumborum), latissimus dorsi, left posterior and medial deltoids, rotator cuff muscles and trapezius to release those often tense areas.
The downswing phase generates club head speed and power to the golf ball, with the legs, hips, torso, and then arms creating a whip-like action.
However, pain in the right medial epicondyle, especially upon contact with the golf ball, can occur over time. Manipulating forearm flexor muscles may help prevent the condition, as well as taking periodical breaks from the sport for a bit of relief.
The follow-through ensues after contact has been made with the golf ball. Though deceleration occurs during this phase, and it’s the most passive part of the swing, a complete follow-through helps with better mechanics. Looser, more relaxed shoulder and upper back muscles help with the fluidly of the swing as you finish your stroke.
If you’re an avid golfer, and prefer not to take time off from the game, regular sports massages, along with a sound fitness and nutrition program, will help you stay in the game longer.
* Special Note — the information above is for reference only. Please consult with a licensed medical professional or credentialed health and fitness professional for more information.
Written by Jerry Del Priore for bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams. He covers several Brooklyn areas including Canarsie, Bensonhurst, Old Mill Basin, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Gravesend, East NY, East Flatbush, Fort Greene, Georgetown, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, among other areas in NYC and Long Island. Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, that encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what! Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews. In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments. Read Jerry Del Prior’s book: Running Through Roadblocks and view his presentation.