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Disc Herniations and Golf

Disc Herniations and Golf

Low back pain is common, and if a herniated disc is the source of your pain, movements such as bending and twisting can be difficult. Disc herniations can affect your golf swing, and your golf swing can exacerbate discs.

Disc herniations are very common, affecting an estimated 1.6% of the US population at a given time. It affects men 2x as much as women, and is most common in 30-55 year olds.

THE GOOD NEWS is that most studies show that most patients recover from herniated discs without surgery from a combination conservative treatments, including physical therapy. However, each person should be evaluated and taken on a case by case to weigh their options and determine the best course of action.

 

Relevant Anatomy 

The Lumbar spine is made up of 5 vertebrae (L1-L5). Each of the bones of the lumbar spine have a cushion between them called the intervertebral disc.

The disc is made up of a tough outer ring of fibrocartilage called the annulus fibrosis. Inside the disc is a gelatinous core called the nucleus pulposus. Behind the discs are the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. These are very sensitive structures that carry messages between the nervous system and the rest of the body.

 

How do disc herniations present?

Back pain is multifactorial and you should always seek a medical professional’s opinion on your specific condition. Every person’s clinical presentation may be different, but there are particular clinical signs and symptoms that may point to disc being involved. 

Depending on which structures are irritated, you may experience back or leg pain, tingling, numbness, or even weakness in the leg. Movements such as bending forward or twisting might be difficult or painful. These impairments can affect your everyday mobility and your ability to perform daily things such as sit comfortably or lift.

Depending on how severe the condition is, disc herniations can make it almost impossible for you to maintain a good posture in your golf swing, let alone perform the movement without compensations.

THE GOOD NEWS is that most studies show that most patients recover from herniated discs without surgery from a combination conservative treatments, including physical therapy.

This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatments.

References 

📚 Jacobs, Wilco C H, et al. “Surgery versus Conservative Management of Sciatica Due to a Lumbar Herniated Disc: a Systematic Review.” European Spine Journal : Official Publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society, Springer-Verlag, Apr. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065612/.

Weinstein, James N. “Surgical vs Nonoperative Treatment for Lumbar Disk Herniation.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 22 Nov. 2006, jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/204281.

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