I heard a wonderful discussion of right sided low back pain in golfers on Sirius XM radio Tuesday night by golf teaching professionals with some good physical knowledge. I then heard an equally quality discussion of potential back issues Wednesday morning on Golf Channel discussing the swings of McIroy and Henderson in slow motion.
These examples obviously involved golf but the same goes for baseball hitters at impact, tennis players at impact, and many others.
The big culprit is a combination of right side bend, extension, and rotation with high velocity on a repetitive basis at impact causing significant compression of the lower right lumbar facet joints at impact. I am referencing right handed athletes here.
Even with good mechanics, too much of these positions can ultimately cause tissue breakdown, inflammation, and pain effecting performance and the ability to participate. This is exacerbated by tightness in the hip flexors leading to forward leaning right hemi-pelvis. Hamstring length can play a role as well. Core and gluteal activation and strength also greatly affect this mechanic. Balance plays a role. Your overall form, experience level, conditioning, and fatigue are also important.
We don’t want coaches to have to find ways to adjust form in players due to a physical limitation and certainly not because of pain or avoidance therein. We want baseline flexibility, strength, balance, endurance, and conditioning, etc. to be optimized so you can play the way your coach wants and definitely without pain. Don’t compensate – maximize your physical abilities so your form and talent can take over!!!
You don’t have to have this memorized. It is complicated. It is also scary if the pain is happening to you. Call me. We will do a full physical exam and analyze your move on slow motion computer video and discuss not only a treatment plan but a return to sport plan.
Kash Eagleton, DPT, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Specialist