Although golfing is a low-impact sport, athletes can still suffer from injuries like pain in the lower back, hips, wrists and elbows as a result of overuse. Previous research has shown that a golf swing can place compressive loads on the lumbar spine, resulting in pain the lower back. 1 A new case study demonstrates how chiropractic can provide effective rehabilitation for golfers suffering from injuries.2It also points to how chiropractic therapies can help patients experiencing osteoarthritic pain.
The case study documented the treatment a 49-year-old woman golfer suffering from hip pain related to osteoarthritis. The woman had been suffering from left hip osteoarthritis for several years, along with stiffness in her lower back, and a recent onset of right hip pain. The woman reported pain with simple tasks like climbing stairs, sitting for long hours, walking long distances, and more.
A chiropractic doctor developed a treatment plan aimed at golf-rehabilitation and osteoarthritis management. The multi-pronged treatment included soft tissue, ultrasound, and myofascial therapies, hip and lumbar spine mobilizations, acupuncture, and home advice. Exercise rehabilitation included core strengthening, general conditioning, golf-specific stretches, and referral to a swing coach.
By the sixth visit to the chiropractor, the patient reported that her left hip pain was "great" and by the eighth visit, both her hips generally felt "good." The woman continued receiving treatments every two weeks thereafter.
At the six-month follow-up visit, the woman reported golfing free of left hip pain, the side affected by osteoarthritis. She was referred to her family practitioner for management of persistent mild pain in the right hip. The woman also reported improvements in her golfing endurance and driving distance.
The case report outlines a successful treatment protocol for golfer rehabilitation. Although larger studies are needed to make any firm conclusions, the researcher suggested that "conservative care and rehabilitation management of hip osteoarthritis and low back pain may help golfers improve their performance and prevent further injuries."
This case study also demonstrates the positive outcomes possible with chiropractic management of hip pain related to osteoarthritis. Other research has also shown that chiropractic can ease knee pain in patients osteoarthritis.
1. Gluck G S, Bendo J A, Spivak JM. The lumbar spine and low back pain in golf: a literature review of swing biomechanics and injury prevention. Spine Journal 2008;8:778–788. Quoted in Howell (2012).
2. Howell E. Rehabilitation and treatment of a recreational golfer with hip osteoarthritis: a case report. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 65 (3):201-8.