It is May and already past the mid season mark for the PGA Tour. The PGA Championship is the second major of the year and is being held this week in Bethpage, Long Island. Many PGA golfers are playing 3-4 weeks in a row regardless of their ranking on the money list. This years PGA schedule demands such an increased frequency of play by the golfers on the PGA Tour. Increased frequency has already begun to challenge the physical status of many PGA golfers.
In the PGA Performance trailers this week we have had many neck and lower back injuries. Overall they are a little more severe then what we have had in the past at this time of year. The cause appears to be two fold. First, the increased frequency demand has challenged the conditioning level of the players. The strength and flexibility that was required last year is not enough to withstand the increased frequency to perform with this years schedule. Second, the demands of the course the golfer’s are playing and the weather will enhance the demands on the golfer. With that in mind, the golfers are in for a treat. Bethpage is playing long and the weather is cold and wet. Those golfers who are not conditioned may feel aches and pains that they did not have last week in Dallas. Some who have arthritis or pre-arthritic symptoms are finding their mobility challenged.
The most prevalent conditions we are seeing are cervical and upper back pain and restriction. Increased frequency of play means increased swings. On the PGA Tour this has always equated with neck and upper back symptoms. With the swing speeds of PGA players the upper back and neck are exposed to a great deal of mobility and stability demands at the apex of the backswing and follow through as well as at impact. Comprehensive manual care of deep tissue therapy, spinal manipulation/mobilization techniques and activation exercises has been effective at restoring mobility and strength. The same protocol has been applied to lower back pain that has been seen this week. With all the physical demands this week the frequency of treatment correspondingly increases. We want to stay ahead of symptoms to maintain function and movement efficiency.
The objective is to keep the body working as efficiently as possible. Performance can then be maximized at a crucial time of the season. Should any condition not be controlled or resolved, performance will suffer not just this week but as we get into the summer.