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Using a Caddy for a Bad Back: A Case Study

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Golf Pain Lower Back Clubhouse Gp

Keen golfer Mark remembers the first time he knew he had a problem. He was hitting his second shot on what was a reasonable par four when he felt the pain in his lower back. Initially, he thought nothing of it, but the pain continued on the next hole, indeed all the way round the rest of the course. Sitting rather uncomfortably in the clubhouse, he knew he had a problem.

“Perhaps it was too many hours at the computer or in the car, I thought. I’d had the odd twinge before, but then everyone does from time to time. I’m only just 40, and I thought at my age, I would shake it off by the time I played again the following Sunday. This wasn’t the case, in fact it was a little worse, and that was when I began to worry.”

Sensibly, Mark didn’t wait any longer in the hope that his body would heal itself naturally, and took himself off to his GP. She, in turn, advised a visit to a chiropractor in order to have the problem accurately diagnosed. “I thought chiropractors and osteopaths were for guys a lot older than me. You meet them in the clubhouse occasionally; always blaming their poor performance on their bad back, or their failure to buy a drink. You know, ‘Sorry mate, I’d get you one but I don’t like getting out of this chair too often. The old back, you see.’

Lower Back Pain

“Anyway, the advice from the chiropractor was that I was suffering from lower back pain, and that stretching exercises, perhaps some massage, were the way forward. Certainly I should warm up before playing. He also advised me against carrying heavy weights, so I mentioned the golf bag.”

Mark was told that regularly shifting a heavy bag around the course would only make matters worse. Initially he turned to his father for help. He is a member of the same club as Mark, and agreed to act as caddie. “He acted the Good Samaritan, but I’m sure he was partly motivated by the fact he could spend more time at the club.

‘No Better Place Than the Course’

“Anyway, if the weather is good, there’s no better place than on the golf course. Obviously my problem is not hereditary because he had no problem with the bag. Mind you, he is two or three inches shorter than me, and I’ve heard many people say guys over six foot like me are more prone to back problems.”

Mark still occasionally enjoys a round with his father acting as caddie, but not wishing to impose too much he has invested in an electric trolley that takes the strain between holes for him. Not surprisingly he had to bear the brunt of the clubhouse humour for a while but he has found the unit invaluable. “It cost a couple of hundred quid. I could have paid more – they have remote controlled models, too – but it’s been money well spent.

“I’ve learned to accept the back problem, and have stuck to the exercise programme I was given. I’m not usually very good when it comes to that – routines, I mean - but given the choice of doing that, or making the problem worse and having to give up the game; well, it was a bit of a no brainer, really.”

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