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Using physical therapy to improve functional mobility for golf

Three physical therapy exercises to improve back pain for golf are supine flexion (moving arms up and down), horizontal adductions (hugs), and rotations, all on a foam peanut accupoint massager.

Golf is a sport surrounded by ongoing frustration yet immense reward. I have been very familiar with these ups and downs of the sport as I have been playing golf since the age of four when I used to steal my father’s golf clubs in the back yard. After becoming a Physical Therapist, I now have a different outlook on how I play to maximize my ability to have a successful round while also minimizing risk for injury. One of the most critical areas that have maximized my success, is focusing more on my thoracic or mid back mobility.

What is thoracic mobility?

The thoracic spine, which starts at the bottom of the neck and ends where your ribs end, moves in three planes. These include forward and backwards, side to side and rotation. In daily life, most of our thoracic mobility is done in the forward and back plane. In golf however, maximal thoracic rotation is needed to reach peak power and to square up to the ball properly.

Exercises for thoracic mobility

One of my favorite exercises is using a peanut, or two tennis balls in a sock, to maximize motion. First, while lying on your back, position the peanut between the shoulder blades with the downward slope around the bony part of spine. Next, perform arm movements up and down, across the body and rotation for 10-15 repetitions of each.


These three simple motions can help maximize functional mobility in the joints of the spine leading to increased rotation and therefore increased power when striking the ball. If restrictions are present leading to limited motion, increased stress is put into the cervical spine, lumbar spine and shoulders to make up for those limitations. This in turn can lead to increased risk of injury in these areas.

Rose Physical Therapy is here in Washington, DC to help!

If you ongoing restrictions or pain while golfing, consider getting a full assessment on what can be done to make you more successful and injury free out on the golf course. Either our office in downtown Washington, DC between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square, or at our office in Navy Yard and Capitol Riverfront, just a few blocks from Capitol Hill has the best area physical thearpists who are capable of getting you on the track to recovery. One on one appointments at Rose are one-hour with a physical therapist, never a technician. And Rose Physical Therapy in Washington, DC accepts most private health insurance so that the best physical therapy is also affordable for you based on your insurance plan.