PGA golfers Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have used chiropractic services for years in order to improve and maintain their golfing performance. Their successes suggest a benefit of chiropractic care, but it's hard to know if it's because of the care or because they are world-class athletes. Can chiropractic care help the average golfer improve their performance as well?
The very nature of the game of golf suggests a good match for players with chiropractic care. Golfing can involve considerable strain on the spine. Golfers need to move from a standing position quickly to club head speeds, requiring good posture, balance, and the ability to rotate the spine properly. Poor posture can create exaggerated or flattened spinal curves that can seriously affect swing performance. In fact, Tom Ward, PGA Golf Instructor, says, "Over 50% of all golfers will experience some sort of pain due to poor posture and the problems that arise from loss of proper curves in the spine."
By working with your spinal range of motion, chiropractic care can help correct golf injuries, maintain performance, and improve the posture needed to perform a good golf swing. When the chiropractor aligns all the vertebrae, the spine can move better. An individualized treatment plan including chiropractic adjustments, specific rehabilitation exercises and muscle techniques may make a significant difference in your overall performance and enjoyment of the sport.
Recent research confirms that chiropractic care can indeed lead to improved golf performance. A recent study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine demonstrated that the combination of chiropractic care and stretching are associated with greater improvements in golfers' swings when compared to stretching alone.
Two groups of golfers participated in the study. One group received a program of stretching only, and the second received both stretching and spinal manipulation. The stretching program was the same for both groups, and both groups had similar average ages, handicaps, and initial swings. All 43 participants initially performed three full swing maneuvers, and the average distances were recorded. Over a 4-week period, all participants hit 3 balls before and after treatment.
After 4 weeks, the stretching only group showed no improvement in swing performance. However the stretching and manipulation group did improve their swing performance and there was greater driving distance right after treatment each week. So it appears that yes, chiropractic care can help not only top golfers such as Woods and Harrington, but it can help you improve your golf game too.