Dealing with the sharp pain running down one or both legs from the lower back is horrible, and many golfers suffer from sciatica pain. But does golf make sciatica pain worse? Keep reading, and I will explain how you can golf pain-free.
Golf does not make sciatica pain worse, pain while golfing is a red flag and symptom of something missing in your golf swing or posture. Issues from right-handed golfers come from the lead hip as golf is an unliteral sport causing uneven torque on the opposite hip, causing damage to the spine/hips.
Pain in Golf is common but it is not normal. Keep reading and I will explain what causes sciatica pain in golf, how can you can treat it and what exercises you can do to golf pain-free and if golf is good for sciatica.
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What Causes Sciatica Pain In Golf?
Golf is a very uni-lateral sport as every swing we do is in one plane of motion, naturally always swinging to one side will cause one hip to get more damaged and suffer wear and tear.
If your a right-handed golfer the pain from the inflammation of the sciatic nerve will arise from the lead hip as there is uneven torque on the spine/hips (opposite hip from left-handed golfers).
For a right-handed golfer, the left hip doesn’t move as evenly as the right side, so it adjusts to make up for the lack of rotation as it’s a ball and socket joint that wants to move which causes sciatica to pinch causing pain in the glute and the right hip.
You likely have other muscle imbalances that cause you pain when you Golf. To know the 6 major muscle groups that are used in golf and what exercises to make them stronger check out my post.
How To Treat Sciatica Pain In Golf
Set up in a golf position where the hip is more forward, which brings the trial shoulder down as the right hand is lower on the club so the shoulder should be lower.
This puts the left hip more forward putting the hip joint in a better position to rotate, remember sciatica pain in golf is a symptom of instability, not inflexibility.
The most beneficial exercise according to Dr. Sandra L. Doman(above video) to help correct instability issues, and to stabilize the hips, glutes, and lower back to treat sciatica pain is the Glute Med Wall Slides.
This exercise targets all your problem areas, and best of all it can be done anywhere with no equipment aside from a wall!
How To Perform Glute Med Wall Slides
- Set up against a wall laying on your side wearing socks with your bottom hip pressed against the wall, with the top hip slightly being off with enough space to slide your hand behind the hip
- With your top leg straight angle the knees and the toe down and lift the heel up in a small range of motion, most of the work should be at the back of the hip
- Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps
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Does Stretching Help With Sciatica?
Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist says the best way to alleviate sciatica pain is to do ‘any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.‘
Be careful with overstretching as this can actually damage your sciatica nerve, Corina Martinez, a physical therapist at Duke Sports Medicine Center and member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, says that there’s no one-size-fits-all exercise for people who have sciatic nerve pain.
Don’t assume you will be flexible enough to perform the following exercises correctly, as your Sciatica pain is likely because of poor posture and incorrect movement patterns. Most people who demonstrate these stretches in the below videos have excellent flexibility and have been doing it for years.
If you feel ANY pain doing these exercises you should shop, there is a difference between stretching discomfort and genuine pain it should feel pleasurable to release tight muscles.
If any of these positions hurt adjust them slightly, if one feels better that is the treatment you want to do. The problem areas are likely the spine, hips, and hamstrings. The following three stretches will target these issues, to bless your body with improved mobility.
3 Best Stretches For Sciatica Pain
1.Seated Pigeon Pose
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you.
- Bend your right leg, putting your right ankle on top of the left knee.
- Lean forward and allow your upper body to reach toward your thigh.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. This stretches the glutes and lower back.
- Repeat on the other side.
2.Sitting Spinal Stretch
Sciatica pain is triggered when vertebrae in the spine compress. This stretch helps create space in the spine to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out with your feet flexed upward.
- Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your opposite knee.
- Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you gently turn your body toward the right.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then switch sides.
3. Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch can help ease pain and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica.
- Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee tends to hyperextend, keep a slight bend in it.
- Bend your body forward slightly toward your foot. The further you go, the deeper the stretch. Don’t push so far that you feel pain.
- Release the hip of your raised leg downward as opposed to lifting it up. If you need help easing your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
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Golf Specific Sciatica Exercises/Stretches
These exercises are designed to warm up the joints that contribute to Sciatica, like the hips and spine perform you play golf. It’s crucial to perform reps on both sides to prevent imbalances to improve stability for both hip-joints.
Golf Side Bends (0:06 In Video)
- With feet, shoulder-width apart grab a golf club on both ends with your arms up
- Swing the club side to side to open up your thoracic spine and get your hips moving side to side
- Repeat for 5-10 side bends on each side
Golf Transverse Plane Swing Warmup (0:25) In Video)
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a golf club with one hand palms up towards the direction that you swing and the other hand palms down near the base of the club
- Mimic the backswing with gentle rotations to warm up the thoracic spine
- Repeat 5-10 reps on both sides
- To make it more difficult step to the side as you rotate or take a back step as you rotate
Golf Plane Exercise (1:33 In Video)
- Set up in a shoulder-width stance and cross your legs over with the lead foot pointing out and the back foot planted
- Take some back swings
- Set up in the opposite way and work your follow-through
- Repeat 5-10 reps on both sides
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