Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quick Hitter For Neck Pain And Hook Tendency

Written by: Dr. Benjamin D. Turner, PT, DPT, CSCS, FAFS, FMR, NG360 Golf Performance Specialist 

I had a client come in the other day with complaints of left neck pain during the backswing and problems missing left and occasionally hitting a hook.  He was going on a golfing trip and wanted some quick hitters that he could do to decrease his pain and increase his performance.

After an assessment, we found that his posterior (back) left shoulder soft tissue (muscle and connective tissue) and his upper trapezius (neck muscle) were restricted and limiting his left arm and neck from moving fully in the backswing.  Because this motion was limited, he began to unconsciously compensate by bending his left elbow, causing him to cast out during his down swing and the resulting pain and left ball flight tendency.
He has several other limitations including thoracic spine (mid-back) stiffness and shoulder joint malpositioning that are contributing to his mechanical flaws, but because he was looking for a quick improvement, we picked something that we felt we could make a change in quickly and easily.  Our hope was that it would decrease his pain and improve his performance for his upcoming golf adventure.

In order to improve his motion, we chose some easy exercises shown below that he could perform before, during, and after his trip to start producing a better, safer golf swing.

Hit the soft tissue around your shoulder blade with a lacrosse ball. This should allow your shoulder blade to move more freely when  you swing. 

Put the lacrosse ball into the thick muscle of your lower neck, upper back.  Then:

Lower your arm toward the ground slowly, keeping your elbow straight. Don't force it; use the motion you have available.   Return to the starting position and repeat. You should be able to slowly increase your motion. 

Hold on to a wall or a door frame with one hand. With your other hand, reach under your armpit to create a shoulder turn.  You can hold and stretch or reach and repeat.  You can perform this on both sides.

After creating more motion, you need to use it to create proper motor patterns. 

Squat and reach over your head. 

Squat and reach across your body. 

Squat and reach over your head (to the side). 
As always, work within your available resources and slowly increase your mobility as your body will comfortably allow. 
Hit 'em long, hit 'em straight, and transform your body to optimize your game!