THE 12 BIG SWING CHARACTERISTICS : Is your reverse spine angle contributing to your low back pain?


What is Reverse Spine Angle ?

A Reverse Spine Angle is defined as any excessive upper body backward bend (trunk leaning towards the target) or excessive left lateral upper body bend (for a right-handed player) during the backswing. This swing fault makes it very difficult to start the downswing in the proper sequence, due to the lower body being placed in a position that usually limits its ability to initiate the downswing. This swing characteristic is also one of the prime causes of lower back pain in golfers. When the lower body can’t start the downswing or has a limited ability to initiate the movement, the upper body tends to dominate the swing which will eventually create path problems and limited power output. Reverse spine angle puts excessive tension on the lower back due to a forced inhibition of the abdominal musculature during the backswing, and excessive compressive loads placed on the right side of the spine at impact.


Unfortunately, a reverse spine angle can set up a golfer for lower right back pain (for a right handed golfer) for two reasons:  First, if a golfer has a reverse spine angle, his/her upper body will tend to dominate the swing since the lower body is not in position to initiate the downswing.  The upper body initiation and domination will cause the body to switch from bending slightly to the left to rapidly crunching down on the right instead of the pelvis moving into rotation.  This rapid acceleration of the spine crashing down on the right low back can cause repetitive jamming of the lower lumbar/sacral joints and over time cause inflammation and arthritic changes.

Secondly, this swing fault can also cause the abdominal muscles (known to protect and stabilize the spine) to become inhibited and thus the low back vertebrae are left in a vulnerable position.


As specialist in human movement, we will describe the most common physical causes of a reverse spine angle.  Please understand there are also habits, techniques, and golf club fit issues that can also contribute to cause a reverse swing fault.

The most common physical causes are as follows:

  • Poor pelvic and shoulder dissociation.  The ability for your thoracic spine to rotate over your pelvis and on the spinal axis is needed to avoid side or backward bending during the backswing.  This can be due to a restricted spinal mobility or Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  Typically people with poor spinal or Latissimus Dorsi mobility cannot separate their shoulders from their pelvis.
  • Poor right internal hip rotation (in the right handed golfer.)  If the golfer cannot rotate the pelvis posteriorly on the right around the right leg, he/she will then be forced into a lateral sway, which will in turn, cause a reverse spine angle.ç
  • Poor core strength, spinal stability or pelvic stability.  If the golfer cannot stabilize their spine by using their spinal stabilizers, abdominal muscles, or glutes, the spine may end up being forced out of a proper spinal angle during the backswing due to excessive extraspinal forces dominating rotation beyond the core’s ability to stabilize.  The stronger the core, the more efficient golf swing because the spinal angle line can stay in the correct position while the shoulders rotate around it.  You lose your spine angle, your body is in an inefficient position to make a successful swing.

Here at Elite Performance Therapy we use a variety of biomechanical tests to determine the cause of the swing fault, followed by prescribed exercises, soft tissue, and chiropractic treatments to correct the physical causes of a reverse spine angle.  Please feel free to contact us to learn more about swing faults, physical causes, and treatments or about any other golf injury related matter.

If you require further information or would like to book an appointment, please get in touch

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