Golfers Tips to Avoid Lower Back Pain

Spinal Mobility for Golfers

Brianna Piel, SPT

Looking to improve your golf swing? Experiencing pain with your golf swing? Improving spinal mobility may help! The key to any good golf swing and preventing injury lies in proper spinal mobility.

The spine is divided into 5 regions:

  1. Cervical spine
  2. Thoracic spine
  3. Lumbar spine
  4. Sacrum
  5. Coccyx

Of particular importance in golf is the mobility of your thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is located in the upper to mid back region made of 12 vertebrate. Each vertebrate rotates on the other to provide the trunk rotation necessary for an effective golf swing.

When rotation at the thoracic spine is limited it can place unnecessary demand on your low back, the lumbar region. The lumbar region is called upon to pick up the slack to rotate the trunk putting unhealthy stress on the low back that may not only limit your golf game but cause injuries down the road.

To improve your game and decrease the chance of injury there are several exercises you can perform to increase your thoracic rotation. One simple and easy exercise you may perform is known as the open book.

1. To perform this exercise, begin by lying on your side with your bottom leg straight and your top leg bent to a 90-degree angle. Place your arms straight out in front of you so that they are parallel with the ground

2. Next slowly bring your top arm up towards the ceiling continuing as far as you can to the floor on the other side of your body. Letting your trunk rotate open like the spine of an open book.

3. Finally, slowly return your hand to the starting position and repeat. Remember to only go as far as you can without arching your back.

Continued practice of this exercise and others like it will help improve the rotation at your thoracic spine. Spinal mobility for golfers can lead to a faster and more powerful golf swing.

At Capital Area PT and Wellness we are trained to assess your thoracic spine and provide you with a exercise program tailored specifically meet the needs of your game. Contact the Upstate NY physical therapy experts at 518-289-5242 (Malta) or 518-502-1154 (Queensbury).



Finn C. Rehabilitation of Low Back Pain in Golfers. Sports Health. 2013.5 (4): 313-319.

Medbridge Education. Sidelying open book thoracic lumbar rotation and extension. Accessed June 2017.