It may not be a high-contact sport, but there are still plenty of injuries a golfer can sustain, and massage can be an excellent technique for assisting both the healing and prevention of these issues. Massage can also be a wonderful way to increase flexibility, which can help golfers with their form
WHAT KIND OF INJURIES CAN A GOLFER SUSTAIN?
Golf is one of the most popular sports globally, with up to 35 million people participating around the world. While injuring oneself while playing golf isn’t something that is necessarily heard of very often, you’d be surprised at how much of a toll golf can take on a body.
For starters, the repetitive, one-sided nature of a golf swing means it’s common to see muscular injuries in the lower back, hips, shoulder and elbow. Being one-sided also often means the other side of the body compensates for the pain, and often, golfers find their whole bodies become sore.
Golfers also experience a lot of soreness around the head and neck, as well as in between the shoulder blades. This is usually caused as the body tightens for the swing. Also during the swing, the lower back can be affected by the twisting motion. The swing puts a lot of pressure on the body, requiring rotation and compression.
Because a lot of the toll is taken by the upper body, core and back strength are paramount.
Finally, there’s the dreaded golfer’s elbow, generally caused by an overworked arm and tense arm muscles. Golfer’s elbow occurs on the inside of the arm and can be debilitating if not treated quickly and regularly.
BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY FOR GOLFERS
There are a range of benefits that massage therapy can have for golfers.
- Massage generally increases circulation. For golfers, this helps remove the metabolic waste that accumulates in the muscles, because of the repetitive nature of the golf swing.
- Helps to reduce muscle spasms
- Massage therapists can also help with trigger point and adhesions to prevent injuries
- Helps to improve quality of movement
- Improves range of motion and muscle flexibility
- Decreases anxiety and stress
- Improves mental focus and enhances body awareness
TYPES OF MASSAGE TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
There are so many types of massage around, however there are a few that are perfect for treating golfers’ injuries and helping to maintain their form.
- Relaxation and therapeutic massage is one of the most popular and well-known types of massage. Because it’s a more gentle type of massage using long strokes, it’s great when it comes to improving circulation, easing muscles aches and pains and helping clients relax.
- Deep tissue massage helps to realign the deeper layers of muscle and tissue. Using firm pressure and slow strokes, this type of massage is generally used for chronic aches and pain and is best for contracted areas such as a stiff neck, upper back, lower back and sore shoulders. The best thing about deep tissue is that it works to break down knots or adhesions that limit the range of motion – for golfers, this is perfect in helping keep their muscles loose for the perfect swing.
- Trigger point therapy can be used to target specific areas of a muscle. Without us even knowing, there are certain points in our bodies that actually refer pain and sensations to other parts. Trigger point therapy works to immediately release tension and improve muscle functioning.
- Myofascial release therapy focuses on the fascia which is the connective tissue in the body. Usually, the fascia holds a lot of pain and tension, which is generally interpreted as soft tissue pain. This form of massage actually goes deeper, releasing the pain and strain from the fascia, rather than simply treating the higher layer of tissue. Stretching techniques are used to help increase freedom of movement.
TREATING GOLFER’S ELBOW
While many mistake this as similar to tennis elbow, the treatment is actually very different. Golfer’s elbow actually affects the inside of the elbow, so that’s where treatment needs to be focused. Golfer’s elbow is caused by overworked and tense arm muscles. This leads to an inflammation of the ligaments.
To treat golfer’s elbow, pressure is applied to the muscle on the inside of the elbow, the insider of the lower arm including the wrist flexors. Remember, this area can be exceptionally sensitive and painful to someone suffering from golfer’s elbow, so be gentle. Of course, the upper arm also needs to be treated, and it’s actually the back that needs to be focused on. The triceps can contribute a lot of pain to a golfer’s elbow injury, and it’s best to massage the spot that’s the most painful. And of course, while many people don’t associate it with the arm, golfer’s elbow does impact the pectoral muscles, so make time to massage the trigger points on the chest.