By Brad Yotty, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC
A recent article in Golf Digest detailed the regimen that PGA Pro Jason Day utilized to get his lower back ready to play in The Masters after aggravating an old injury the week before. Day had aggravated an L4-L5 herniated disc when he bent over to kiss his daughter the week before he was to travel to Georgia for the tournament. In the artice, he discusses spending 20-30 minutes every morning blowing into balloons to synchronize his diaphragm and pelvic floor in order to play golf at the ultra-competitive level of the PGA tour without lower back pain affecting his swing.
You may ask yourself what the exercises a pro golfer uses to play golf without pain has to do with your back pain and your lifestyle. The answer is simple: We all use the same core muscles to move. Some of us just need to get from the bed to the bathroom and kitchen to play cards. Lots of us chase kids and grandkids. Some of us are involved in recreational exercise or sports. Whatever your lifestyle, you have a centrally located group of muscles in your body that are required for movement.
Think of your “core” as a soda can. The top of the can is your diaphragm, the bottom the muscles of your pelvic floor, the front your deep abdominal muscles, and the back your deep back muscles. The problem with a lot of people’s “core” is that one or several of those groups of muscles works improperly, is in an incorrect position to do its’ job, or fires at an inappropriate time. And when one group of muscles is activating inappropriately the whole system compensates causing movements we don’t want and can lead to injury or decreased performance. You need your core to fire when it should and how it should as a group for all movements. Compensatory movements can be a component of any or all musculoskeletal pains.
One of the best ways to synchronize all the muscles of the “core” is through coordinated breathing exercises that essentially retrain the brain to fire muscles when and how they should be fired. I have had extensive training in specific exercises for restoring functional mobility of the entire body through coordinated breathing and positioning exercises to allow you to get your body moving in whatever ways you want to move depending on your goals. If you have any questions regarding these breathing and positioning techniques and whether they will help you meet your goals don’t hesitate to give me a call at River Rehab Physical Therapy to discuss your goals and whether our techniques can help your meet your goals, whatever they may be.