A golf swing much like the issues above rely on a certain amount of mobility and the shoulder is no different. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body but in fact has very minimal contact with the body. It connects as a ball and socket joint, where the socket is located on the shoulder blade which is only fixed to the skeleton at the A/C joint (a small joint on top of the shoulder). This means the shoulder relies a lot on the muscles and soft tissues that attach to it in order to function properly. Whether it is the labrum that allows for a deeper more congruent socket, or the rotator cuff that secures the arm within the socket, there are a number of tissues which dictate your shoulder health. Should you have a dysfunctional shoulder you are at risk for tissue damage and degeneration. To top it all off, you need some of these shoulder muscles as deceleration muscles. Deceleration muscles are vital at slowing down momentum efficiently rather than relying on soft tissue elasticity to absorb velocity. It is easy to swing an arm, it is a lot harder to slow it down!
One tissue that is also strained through shoulder dysfunction and poor swing mechanics are those on the inside of your elbow. A lot of people are aware of Tennis Elbow but are unaware of it’s annoying brother, Golfer’s Elbow. This is a strain of the deceleration and eccentric control muscles/tissues in the elbow and are amplified by poor shoulder function.
Much like the low back mentioned above, it comes down to figuring out your dysfunctional movement pattern. The mechanics of the shoulder are complicated and can be linked to anything from hip mechanics to wrist mobility. The same tools mentioned above can be used in this case, but I find Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilizations (Graston) and dry needling acupuncture to be very effective for Golfer’s elbow!
The long and short of today’s blog is this. If you are dysfunctional off the golf course, you are going to be dysfunctional on it. The unfortunate fact is we live a largely sedentary lifestyle. We sit a lot at work, we sit a lot on the drive to work, and we sit a lot at home. We do a lot of our work in front of us and we are often looking down at our phones and computers. This causes things like tight hip flexors, weak glutes, forward rolled shoulders, anterior head carriage, rounded and stiff cervical/thoracic spines just to name a few.
Your daily postures and activities are like a cast in which your body adapts to. The longer you spend in a certain position the more your body will adapt to being in that position. If tightening your pecs and traps helps you look at your computer all day at work without wasting a lot of energy, your body will make that change. If we can break these changes that interfere with your athletic movements, we can provide you with a safer, healthier and hopefully even better golf game.
“A rotator cuff injury in my shoulder had me adapting my golf swing to be able to play with relatively low pain, but I had no consistency with my shotmaking. Dr. Trueman’s treatment resolved my injury and I can now hit the ball with much greater accuracy and trajectory!”
Jason • 3-Handicap Golfer