Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

3

Back pain in novice golfers, a one-year follow-up

G.A. Van Der Steenhoven, A. Burdorf and E.G.M. Tromp-Klaren

State University of Leiden, Leiden; Erasmus University, Rotterdam,
The Netherlands

Abstract

A one-year follow-up study on back pain was conducted among 196 men taking up golf. The self-reported lifetime cumulative incidence of back pain was 63%, 28% reported back pain in the month prior to answering the questionnaire, and 13% reported current back pain. One year later, a second survey was carried out. The incidence of first time back pain during the 12 months follow-up was 8%, and the recurrence rate of back pain was about 45%. Severe back pain in the past was a strong predictor for recurrence of back pain among the novice golfers. Sportsmen were also at risk for recurrence of back pain. Most likely, taking up golf may aggravate pre-existing back pain because in golf, as in many other sports, particular strenuous movements may induce spells of back pain.

Keywords: Novice Golfers, Back Pain, Incidence, Recurrence


1 Introduction

Golf is a fast growing sport in The Netherlands. The Dutch Golf Federation (NGF) had 70,000 full members in 1992, and another 20,000 members are expected to join until the year 2000. The NGF recently estimated that, at the moment, some 20,000 non-members are playing golf. Since the number of new golf clubs is insufficient to accommodate these people, it is predicted that non-membership will also grow dramatically.

Golf is especially popular among men around the age of 40 with, at least, a higher education. In the popular press it has been repeatedly suggested that taking up golf may cause back disorders and that persons without physically demanding jobs, such as managers and office clerks, are particularly at risk.

In 1989, just after a new driving range was opened in a nearby village, several men who had taken up golf as a sport sought medical care for their low-back pain in a general practice and a practice for Cesar remedial exercise training in Oegstgeest, The Netherlands. The patients expressed the believe that their back complaints could be attributed to taking up golf.

Although the body of scientific literature concerning golf injuries is steadily growing, data supporting the association between the onset of back pain and playing golf is almost absent. A cross-sectional survey among amateur golfers showed that the back was the most common site of injury. The majority of the complaints were attributed to overpractice and poor swing mechanics (McCarroll et al. 1990). Another survey among amateur golfers confirmed the occurrence of back injuries associated with overuse, poor technique and poor physical condition (Batt, 1992). However, both studies have some shortcomings that hamper the interpretation of the evidence presented. Since back injuries are prevalent in day-to-day life an appropriate reference group is needed to establish whether the occurrence of back injuries may be caused by playing golf.

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

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