A Pain-Free Tee-Off

Philip Beard doesn't let anything interfere with his tee time. But after working all week, bending down is tough.

He describes, "Sitting for long periods of time, my hamstrings would shorten up, and put a lot of pressure on my lower back."

Dr. Scott Lephart sees hundreds of golfers every year who are sidelined by back pain.

Dr. Lephart, a sports fitness specialist, explains, "The golf swing itself puts the body in abnormal positions of torquing the low back."

But at a golf fitness lab, trainers have developed a high-tech way to put players back in the game. They start by performing a 3D biomechanical analysis of a golfer's swing. Technicians then attach 28 sensors to a golfer's body. They step into a simulator, and eight high-speed cameras capture pictures 400 times a second. The cameras track the sensors and create the 3D picture.

The golfer also steps onto a force plate that allows technicians to monitor weight shifts that occur during the golf swing.

With that information, doctors can analyze which motions are causing injury. Trainers can then tailor exercises and modify swings for each golfer to lower the risk of injury and pain.

Lephart says, "This intervention program that enhances strength, balance and flexibility results in a more efficient golf swing; therefore, performance improves."

But what does that mean for Philip?

"More time in the gym, and hopefully, more time on the golf course," Philip says.

There are two golf labs that offer this, one in Pittsburgh and one in Pine Hurst, North Carolina.

Doctors say any golfer experiencing back pain should be evaluated. A certified sports trainer should be able to recommend stretches and exercises to improve flexibility and alleviate pain.