With golf season in full swing, it may be accompanied by the inevitable stiff-hipped walk after 18 holes. This is a routine many come to know well. Sara Khosrowjerdi MS L.Ac., owner of Acupuncture Atelier in Hoboken has provided some insight on how to beat the golf swing stiffness this year. Plus, some advice on how you can potentially improve your swing with acupuncture. Read on to learn how to treat and beat the stiff-hip from golfing.
The Modern Swing
Jason Day has been suffering from a bulging disk during a recent tournament. Mind you, Jason Day was only in his mid-20s and in incredible shape when he started experiencing it. Unfortunately, back, hip, knee, and shoulder injuries seem to be reoccurring.
Now, thanks to the “modern” swing, golf pros follow strict workout routines and have beyond impressive core strength. Golfers like Jason Day, Rory Mcilroy, and Tiger Woods have changed the expectations of the golf physique – no more dad-bod on the reg, that’s for sure, and let’s face it, these guys are ripped! But, why the change?
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Let’s get back to this “modern” swing — compared to the classic swing the major change is limited pelvic rotation, limited body movement, and hyperextension of the back. Golfers are no longer using their entire body (with a relatively neutral spine) or hips to hit that perfect shot. Instead, they are using core strength; coiling themselves in one direction, and using resistance from their own body to initiate the downswing, followed by hyperextension of the lower back. Major ouch!
Unfortunately, even though core strength/motion is typically applauded, nothing about this golf motion sounds promising to me. Just ask Tiger Wood’s surgeon, this golf legend has had a plethora over his career and is only in his early 40s, including significant back injuries.
Dai Mai (aka the Belt Vessel)
Whenever a patient comes to see me with hip pain, one-sided pain, or shoulder pain, I always consider Dai Mai. Dai Mai is also known as the “Belt Vessel.” Like a belt, the purpose of Dai Mai is to hold everything in place. When the Belt Vessel is compromised, we may lose some balance or flexibility.
Think of a band holding your ponytail together – if there is a weak area in that band, your hair won’t feel tight or supported. With repetitive one-sided motions (like the golf swing), it is inevitable that Dai Mai may become affected from time to time. The bigger problem is once imbalanced, symptoms (and your golf swing) will gradually become worse over time. Say goodbye to pars — and hello to bogies!
Curious to know if your Dai Mai is out of balance? Things to look for:
- – Low back and knee pain (especially associated with rotation)
- – Restricted movement to one side
- – Shoulder pain
- – Noticeable shortness of breath or even signs of asthma (repetitive one-sided rotation of the shoulders believe it or not can affect your lung health)
- – Urination frequency and/or urgency
- – Gynecological complications
- – Hip pain or general stiffness of the waistline
In addition to noticing changes to your golf game, it is also important to pay attention to everyday motions. For instance, perhaps you are slouching more to one side while sitting at your desk, or maybe you lean frequently to one side while driving? Over time, you may even notice skin folds that are present on only one side of the waistline, or bilateral skin folds at the waist that are clearly not lined up (unbalanced)…all of which are clear cases of a Dai Mai imbalance.
So how is acupuncture effective in these situations? Simple: on the musculoskeletal level, acupuncture is used in order to restore Dai Mai. It can bring balance, flexibility, and strength back to the waistline. Over time, patients notice less discomfort, pain, and/or stiffness in their hips, shoulders, and low back. Once the balance is restored, your golf swing will progress as usual, and your handicap will return to normal….no sandbagging necessary!