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'X factor' golf swing linked to back pain



 Tiger Woods Image copyright
Getty Images

Striving for a golf swing swing play with your back, according to US doctors.

The modern "X-factor" swing favored by many Professionals can hit the ball harder and say that the Barrow Neurological Institute experts say extra strain on the spine.

They look at the example of Tiger Woods in their research, which is published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

The 43-year-old player recently made a comeback after serious back issues.

Swinging the golf club at measured speeds of 1

29mph at the April 2018 Master's Tournament, Tiger Woods appears to be back to physical fitness. [19659005] And he has said that he now has a greater understanding of what he can do this season.

Big swing

An X-factor golf swing tries to get maximum rotation of the player's shoulders relative to their hips at the top of the backswing.

This big rotation causes wound-up potential energy – the X-factor – but Dr. Corey Walker, Dr. Juan Uribe and Dr. Randall Porter, from Barrow, say it may come at a cost, twisting the lumbar spine.

Image copyright
Barrow

The spinal surgeons have been studying how the golf swing of present-day professionals, including Tiger Woods, differs from those of golf veterans, such as Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan.

They say players' physics and techniques have changed significantly over recent decades.

Modern players are more powerful and have more powerful downswings and this can increase increased force on the spinal disc and facet joints, they believe.

And over time, it can result in a damaging process that the authors call "repetitive traumatic discopathy" (RTD).

Wear and tear

But it's not just the backswing that might injure the lower spine.

During an explosive downswing, lateral flexion can result in a "crunch" of the side of the spine, putting strain on the disc and facet joints on one side of the spine, they say.

Image copyright
Barrow

Dr Walker said: "We believe Tiger Woods experience with spinal disease highlights a real and under-recognized issue among modern-day golfers.

"Tiger was using the mechanics of the modern day swing and that places a tremendous amount of strain on the back.

" It's still a theory but we are starting to see the late stages of this in some of our patients .

"We are seeing younger and younger elite level golfers with degeneration in their lower back."

He said any golfer, elite or not, who experienced pain should seek expert help.

Woods had fusion surgery on his lower spine to get back to fitness. Media caption is unsupported on your device

Media caption Tiger Woods explains why he is a "walking miracle"

Consultant physiotherapist Nigel Tilley , who has worked on the PGA European Tour, the Ryder Cup and with Team GB, said the research should be treated with some caution.

"If you scanned a lot of people in their 40s, you would see some disc degeneration," he said. "That doesn't really have a back problem with it though.

" And Tiger has had a very long golfing career doing repetitive movements, so that perhaps not that surprising that he has had back problems.

" But there is definitely a change in swing style among players in the last 20 years.

"It's becoming much more powerful and it can put more force on the spin. "

" It was important for golfers to control that speed to avoid injury.

"Strengthening and conditioning exercises in the gym can help reduce injuries," he said. no reason why you can't resist these forces and have no problems or injuries.

"And golf is a great sport.

Tiger Woods's back story

  • He won the US Masters at Augusta in 1997 with a record score, aged 21, making him the youngest
  • In March 2014, he withdrew from the final round at the Honda Classic because of lower back pain and spasms
  • Later that month , he had surgery (laminotomy and microdiscectomy procedures) to relieve nerve compression
  • He needed more sur gery to his spine in 2015
  • In 2017, he had his fourth back operation – spinal fusion – to stop the pain

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