Dr. Jeremiah Jimerson

761 Saint Andrews Blvd Charleston, SC 29407

Golf Upper Back Pain? Here’s how to fix it!

Golf Upper Back Pain is one of the stubborn golf injuries that can slow your game down.

Are you suffering from Golf Upper Back Pain? Here’s how to fix it and improve your game at the same time!

Jim is a legendary golfer out on Kiawah Island Golf Courses. At 79, he regularly shoots in the high 70s and low 80s and dominates many of the players tournaments. But Jim came to me with severe upper back back and shoulder blade pain that got worse with golf. He tried stretching, sports massage therapists, acupuncture, corticosteroids and physical therapy. Unfortunately, these made everything worse.

Often golfers can suffer from golf upper back pain but one of the most common reasons is due to the one sided nature of the sport. In golf, we always spend much of our time swinging in one direction, creating entire body fascial imbalances. (Ever wonder why Tiger Woods developed so many back and disc injuries?)

We’ve seen countless patients at our clinic who’ve come in from Kiawah Island Golf, Dunes West Golf & River club or many of the other amazing Charleston golf courses with pretty severe golf upper back pain. It can be a debilitating pain that can creep in and do everything from ruin your golf game to your everyday life. Luckily, this is easily fixable and the payout is not only getting back to your pain-free life but the solutions will also improve your golf game as well. 

One of the worst things you can do in this situation is to try and load up on the anti-inflammatories and keep playing, hoping it will get better. Most of the time you merely band-aide the injury and the upper back pain will come back even worse. 

The second worst thing to do is to beat it up with a lacrosse ball or have your massage therapist grind her elbow into it for an hour straight. One of the main causes of golf upper back pain is a nerve that gets stuck or entrapped under your rhomboid or shoulder blade muscles. To put it in perspective, it only takes about the weight of a dime to irritate a nerve (imagine slightly knocking your “funny bone”) and too much pressure and grinding because you found the sore spot is often a recipe for disaster. 

There are several more causes of golf upper back pain. To permanently fix the issue you have to stop treating the symptoms. You have to start looking at where your biomechanics broke down resulting in the injury. One of the most common causes is weak shoulder blade muscles. 

Your shoulder blade muscles pull your shoulders back into better posture. Unfortunately most people’s shoulder blade muscles are incredibly weak. It makes sense, we spend almost our entire days in the hunched over position which is for all intensive purposes, the weakened or stretched position of the shoulder blade muscles. We hunch at our computers, cell phones, while driving, reading, watching TV and eating. 

The shoulder blade muscles can be thought of as “core muscles” for your arms and shoulders. But when they are weak, they have to struggle and strain to keep your shoulders back. They also struggle and strain as they are slowing down your golf club during the back swing. If something is weak and struggling, it’s more likely to get injured, especially when they do it 80 times (if you’re lucky) during the course of a game. 

This often results in scar tissue or myofascial adhesions to build up in that area often leading to a nerve called your dorsal scapular nerve to get “stuck” under the shoulder blade and making for a miserable injury. 

I often have patients strengthen their shoulder blades with what I believe to be one of the greatest posture and shoulder exercises: the active hang.

The active hang involves hanging from a pullup bar and practicing pulling your shoulder blades either straight down (shoulder depression) or pinching your shoulder blades back to the spine (retraction). The key parts of this exercise to try and do it several times through the day, never to failure and to progressively do it for longer periods with each passing day. So if I did a 10 second retraction several times today, I would shoot for 11 seconds tomorrow and 12 the following day. 

Another contributing factor can be poor mid back and rib rotation. If we hunch forward all day long then it’s likely that you don’t rotate that well ( or even that you rotate well in one direction due to the asymmetrical nature of golf). So I like to include a few mid back rotation stretches or movements through the course of the day as well. 

Jim drove from Kiawah out to my Charleston office weekly as I focused on fascial unwinding and nerve flossing treatments that got to the root cause of his pain. After his pain calmed down he texted to let me know that not only was his pain gone but he was shooting even further than he had been over the past decade!!!

Maybe you’re sick and tired of dealing with your golf upper back pain. You want it gone yesterday. You want to fix the pain, prevent it from happening again and all while improving your golf game to boot…

That’s when you might think about seeing a chiropractor. Not just any chiropractor. Snap, crackle and popping the spine isn’t going to fix this one. You need one that specializes in muscles and nerves and fascia, like me. I’ve literally treated thousands of golf upper back pain cases in my Charleston chiropractic clinic over the past 20 years with a near 100% success rate. 

My goal is to get to the root cause of the issue and to do that, I typically have to treat the entire body. Is your hip contributing to it? Scar tissue in your shoulder? Nerve entrapment in your neck? I’ll determine the root cause in just a few minutes. 

I probably treat this even more than I treat sciatic pain because most doctors and therapists are unsure of what’s actually going on and we often have these cases sent by MDs because they don’t really know how to resolve it. 

About a decade ago, it used to take me several weeks to resolve a severe case of golf upper back pain. Now it takes about 15 minutes to give a patient 95-100% relief and a handful more treatments to keep it that way. 

If you’re looking to fix your chronic hip pain permanently and are in the Charleston, SC area, feel free to reach out. 

Dr. Jeremiah Jimerson, D.C.Founder of Elite Performance & Pain 

Chiropractic Innovator 

Myofascial and Neurological Specialist

Pioneering a holistic approach to chiropractic care, I focus on uncovering the root causes of discomfort, blending myofascial techniques like Active Release Therapy with neurological insights. My practice extends beyond traditional adjustments, delving into the complex interplay of muscles, nerves, movement and overall wellness.

Notable achievements: Hospital Residency Pioneer, Collaborator with Orthopedic Surgeons, Active Release Technique Certified since 2004, Experience with the Buffalo Bills, Ironman Triathlon, College of Charleston Track Team, and high-profile clients.

Passionate about personal health, anti-aging, and longevity. Devoted to activities like weightlifting, calisthenics, jiu-jitsu, movement, and outdoor adventures.

Serving chronic pain patients and athletes who seek innovative, effective solutions.

Connect with me:                  www.fixyourpaincharleston.com 

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