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Addressing PAIN on the Golf Course...

This is a tricky topic. Because pain is

1.) Vague and

2.) Extremely relative. Everyone experiences it a little differently

Pain exists for many when they play golf.

Whether it's back pain, shoulder pain or knee pain… it exists, it’s real, and it hurts!

What can we do to address, work around, and try to eliminate pain?


1.) Understand what pain ACTUALLY is

2.) Find ways to progressively train around and through pain

3.) Find a coach to help you work through it… you don’t have to be alone

What is Pain?

First and foremost, pain does not mean you are broken, fragile, or in need of “fixing.”

Secondly, if a practitioner ever tells you that your pain is caused by any of the following, question them:

  • Muscular imbalance

  • Misaligned hips

  • Your golf swing being too "one sided"

  • Your posture sucks

  • Your biomechanics are horrible!

Here’s why:

Pain is a complex combination of physical, mental, environmental, and emotional stressors.

Notice, only one piece of that equation is actually your physical body. The rest is a combination of your feelings around that pain and stressors that exist within your world.

Meaning, a large reason pain persists within us is that we feel this constant emotional stress that we need to be fixed. We think we are broken. And this emotional stress simply enhances feelings of pain and discomfort. But guess what? You are not broken.

When we experience pain, we need to look at all other facets of our lives:

  • Are we eating nutritional dense and quality foods?

  • Are we getting both quality and quantity of sleep?

  • Are we taking care of ourselves in other aspects of our life? Socially? Mentally? Emotionally?

  • Are we happy with our daily work life, the relationships that surround us, and the purpose we live with daily?

Pain is complex. We need to look outside of the physical body to truly diagnose and create a plan of action.

However, I would be misleading you if I said pain is not at all physically driven.

From the physical lens, pain can be an information source, teaching us something.

Maybe an adaptation is taking place that we need to rest and let the body do its thing.

Maybe we need to let the pain guide us in training. What movements make it worse? What movements feel good?

Maybe an injury has occurred that we need to work around and through to teach ourselves new motor solutions with the novel constraint of the injury.

Moral of the story… when we ask the question, what is pain?

The answer: It’s complex.

That’s great dude, I get it… now help me plz

The best way to decrease future instances of pain is to scale back and progressively increase the stress associated with instances of that pain.

When we experience pain with a certain movement, we tend to avoid that movement… makes sense right?

However, doing this increases our sensitivity to that movement, which will only make our experience of pain worse.

If we have pain in a certain joint or with a certain movement, it is good to INITIALLY let it rest and recover.

I am NOT saying you should deadlift 405 with a bum back.

But, after a short period of rest and letting inflammation and the recovery process begin, we need to slowly progress back into these movements that caused pain in order to strengthen, decrease our sensitivity and improve our emotional response and confidence within those movements.

An example…

You have back pain when you golf. The answer is not to simply stop training.

We know that the spine takes on large rotational, flexion, and extension stresses during your golf swing. Because of this, it tends to be a common spot that pain arises.

The answer is not to simply stop moving our spine in ways that cause pain.

That will only increase sensitivity and probably make future instances of pain worse.

Instead, we need to progressively increase the tolerable limits of our spine's movement. Doing so will build confidence, mobility and strength around that painful area.

Maybe lateral flexion (bending to the side) is painful for you.

Well, let’s start small. We can laterally flex in a cat-cow position which will put far less loading and stress on the spine.

Then slowly, as we build mobility and comfortability in this position, we can start to bring the spine more and more into play.

Then we will load the movement.

Then we will increase the load.

Yada, yada…

This is called adaptation!

Moral of the story: Pain does not mean rest and avoid. It means scale back, work around, and be creative. We can work through this together!

And that brings me to the last point… We are Stronger Together!

You’re not alone in your pursuit of pain-free movement.

People like me exist in this world to help you get back to doing what you love.

There are tons of great coaches out there that can help guide you through this journey from pain to resilience!

Consider joining the SCRATCH Community and let’s work to get you on the course, pain-free and performing at your highest level!! Or, before you do that, shoot me a message with the chat button below or the email listed below. Let’s start the process of getting you out of pain!

Let’s go low.




Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI











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