Golf is a popular sport around the world, especially in our middle aged and older patients. Due to relatively low contact stresses, the sport is accessible for people of ranging physical capabilities. However, the biomechanics of the golf swing require proper mobility and stability throughout the body, especially at the shoulders, spine, and hips. Many of our wellness clients are golfers who simply want to perform at a higher level on the course. Most of the time, the missing link is unlocking the thoracic spine.
Having proper mobility in the thoracic spine can improve the mechanics of the shoulders, low back, and hips. Biomechanical studies of the golf swing have shown a direct link between hip and shoulder rotation. From a structural standpoint, the thoracic spine is in the middle of those two joints and needs to be able to move. Additionally, the sympathetic nervous system is housed directly beneath the middle back, playing an important role in neural mobility.
Many therapists prescribe tennis ball and foam rolling tricks for generalized t-spine mobility, but these are often isolated movements. For proper return to sport, therapists must be incorporating movements that engage the thoracic spine, while using the shoulders and hips. Furthermore, without t-spine rotation, the lumbar spine is required to produce more rotation. While lumbar rotation is not inherently bad, dispersing the rotational stresses throughout the spine is ideal. Using combined exercises for improving hip motion AND thoracic spine motion can useful for both rehab and warming up before golf.
Below are a few effective treatment options to mobilize the thoracic spine.
Transverse Dowel T-Spine Rotation
Standing Stork Turns
Standing Step Thru's Exercises for Thoracic Rotation
Half Kneeling Thoracic Spine Dowel Rotations
Dr. Brian Schwabe's NEW Book in partner with PaleoHacks!
Learn residency-level content on our
Insider Access pages
We value quality PT education & CEU's. Click the MedBridge logo below for TSPT savings!