Taking A Swing at Golf After Spine Surgery


Are you are missing the smell of the perfectly manicured green and the feel of the club in your hand? If you have recently undergone spine surgery, most likely the only golf dates you have been getting are with the television. However, don’t feel discouraged. Getting back to playing golf after spine surgery is quite possible for most individuals.

As you can imagine, the term “spine surgery” covers a wide range of operations. Although both types of spine surgery, a Cervical Posterior Laminotomy, for example, is very different from a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF). Therefore, the type of spine surgery plays a role in the rehab following. The condition that your surgery corrects, the extent of the damage, and the severity of the procedure all play a role in determining how long you need to fully recover, which determines when you can return to your golf game. You must be fully recovered before you can pick up your driver or crouch over your putter.

Getting Back Into The Game

Numerous studies from reliable sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, suggest that most people who played golf before being injured can return to the sport, given sufficient time to recover. How much time you need in your spine surgery rehab is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer. Many factors must be taken into account, such as the following:

  • Your fitness level prior to spine surgery: If you were in excellent physical shape prior to surgery, chances are you will have a easy recovery
  • Your fitness level post spine surgery: If you have been able to recover well and regain your strength, you may be back to playing golf in no time.
  • The procedure itself: Factors such as severity and type of surgery play a role in determining if and when you will be back in the game. Minimally invasive surgeries usually allow for quicker and easier recoveries, while extensive surgeries may take longer to recover from.
  • How much pain you feel day-to-day: Hopefully after spine surgery your level of pain will be greatly reduced if not eliminated. However, pain can defer you from picking back up the clubs.
  • How aggressively you pursue your back surgery rehab: The key is to follow the instructions from your spine surgeon to a key. If you do all the exercises and build up your muscles, chances are you can return to form.

Many of the top spine surgeons in the country agree that most people can return to playing golf after spine surgery. Whether you are one of those depends on the variables above, such as the spine surgery itself and the differences in healing potential from person to person. In general, the younger you are, the better your chances of playing golf after spine surgery.

The Science Behind Golf After Spine Surgery

One particular study examined a small sample of golfers who had lower back surgery. The average time for those who returned to playing golf was eight months. The study went on to find that while a majority of the golfers who had surgery were able to return to a similar level of play after their procedure, some chose not to play again. Reasons not to return to play were due to factors such as pain, loss of interest, or finances. These patients spanned age and gender differences, but were significantly influenced by the procedure they had done.

Seek the Help of an Expert

Working with a spine expert, such as Dr. Timothy Keenen of Pacific Spine Specialists, who specializes in minimally invasive procedures can help have you back in the game in no time. Learn more about conditions he treats and surgeries he performs. A skilled surgeon such as Dr. Timothy Keenen may be the key to returning to the fairway. Schedule your complimentary MRI review today.