I’ll show you step-by-step how to fix the real root causes of your
low back pain, so you can get back to playing a pain-free round of
golf (and hopefully shave some strokes in the process)
If you’re anything like the Olympic and professional athletes I’ve treated with low back pain, you’re struggling with an unrelenting pain that won’t go away no matter what you do.
Low back pain can be crippling and it can leave you feeling very weak. It can take over every aspect of your life; your work, your social life, and even your relationships. You find it difficult to sleep, as well as get up in the morning. It’s hard to feel excited for the day when you wake up with pain.
But probably the worst part about low back pain is it keeps you from doing the things that you love, like playing golf. In fact it keeps you from doing much of anything, and as a result you’ve gained weight and other parts of your health are starting to suffer.
Getting your health back might seem hopeless, but let me make one thing very clear - it doesn’t have to be this way.
This is not a normal part of aging.
Hi, I’m Thomas Malchow -- I help golfers with low back pain.
It’s the focus of my 20 year career. I’m a Kinesiologist, Golf Fitness Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Nutritionist.
I’m also a low back pain survivor.
Keep reading and I will show you exactly what to do to finally put a stop to your low back pain.
But first, I want to let you in on a little secret....
It probably seems strange that I’m saying stretching and exercise won’t help your low back pain, especially since I’m a Kinesiologist, Golf Fitness Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist.
Truthfully, stretches and exercises that target your muscle imbalances, referred to as corrective exercise, are actually the key to eliminating your low back pain.
But, general stretching and exercise routines can make your low back pain worse and some of the stretches and exercises people are told to do can be harmful.
Some of the more harmful things people are told to do include: stretching their low back by pulling their knees to their chest, stretching their hamstrings, and strengthening their abs by doing crunches.
I must admit that pulling your knees to your chest feels good. Stretching is one of the best ways to temporarily stop pain and that makes you feel like you’re doing something right. This will give you about 15-20 minutes of relief, making it a short-term fix. The problem is that putting your spine into this position can damage your discs, and after you’ve had some relief the pain will come back - often worse than
This starts a vicious cycle for someone who thinks all they need to do is “stretch it out”.
Now, let’s talk about your hamstrings. I’m going to take a guess and say that they probably feel tight.
Problem is your hamstrings are actually probably too long and they just feel tight because they have become overactive.
Most people with low back pain will have overactive hamstrings that are too long
Stretching your hamstrings will only make them longer and cause them to become even more overactive, making them feel even tighter.
It’s a vicious cycle that ends in bad posture and more pain.
Doing certain exercises like crunches can also hurt your back.
Strengthening your abs seems like it should be helpful, however, when you crunch your lumbar spine flexes, which can strain the structures in your low back causing pain and increasing your risk for disc herniations.
Furthermore, crunches strengthen your surface muscles, not the deep core muscles that stabilize your spine. They can also make your posture worse, and bad posture is one of the root causes of low back pain.
Most of the clients I work with who’ve been through the ringer and are desperate to find some relief consider getting injections.
Two of the most common types of injections people consider getting are epidural steroid injections and prolotherapy.
About half of the people who try epidural steroid injections find some short-term relief, however, the injections do not fix the root causes of your low back pain and the pain always comes back.
In fact new scientific studies suggest that these injections may actually cause long-term damage.
Prolotherapy is a popular yet controversial injection therapy used to treat low back pain. It involves injecting sugar (yes, sugar) directly into the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the lumbar spine.
Some people claim that these injections reduce inflammation, speed up healing, and allow a quicker return to sport, however, there is very little evidence to support this. In fact, scientific studies suggest that these injections are not helpful in relieving low back pain and may actually weaken the structures in your low back increasing your risk for further injury.
Taking drugs for pain will only mask your symptoms, if they even help at all.
If painkillers do help, they’ll only provide short-term relief because they don’t get at the root causes of your low back pain.
There are also undesirable side-effects to taking these drugs.
For example, taking ibuprofen or other types of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause your stomach to bleed if you take them for a long time.
Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, can cause liver damage if you take too much or if you drink alcohol while taking it.
Chiropractic can provide relief for many people and it helps with many different types of pain.
But in the case of low back pain, especially for golfers, it’s actually not an ideal long term solution. In some cases it can provide a short term reduction in pain… but you’ll notice the pain comes right back.
The reason the pain comes back is because, although chiropractic does address your alignment (which is a contributing factor to your low back pain) it doesn’t address why you’re out of alignment.
Meaning there is nothing to keep you in alignment.
Being out of alignment means you have muscle imbalances and if you want to permanently improve your alignment and eliminate your low back pain these muscles imbalances must be addressed.
Your piriformis is a muscle in your butt underneath your glutes.
It puts up with a lot.
Most of us spend a lot of time sitting everyday.
Sitting is very bad for us, in fact some people say that sitting is the new smoking.
One of the problems with sitting is it causes your hip flexors to become too tight, which causes your glutes to become underactive.
Because of biomechanical reasons, when your glutes become underactive it forces your piriformis to become overactive and an overactive piriformis is a pain in the butt and the low back.
Here’s how to release your piriformis.
As we learned earlier, our low back should be stable.
Stability in our low back requires mobility through our upper back (thoracic spine).
If your thoracic spine does not have enough mobility, your body will have no choice but to “steal” some mobility from your low back, causing it to become unstable leading to pain and injury.
Here’s how to improve mobility through your thoracic spine
There are 6 likey root causes of your low back pain.
There are scientifically proven posture and movement assessments that can be used to find the root causes of your low back pain.
Once you find the root causes of your low back pain, a corrective exercise routine can be used to fix your root causes by targeting the muscle imbalances in your body.
Once your muscle imbalances are corrected, your pain will fade away.
A nutritional assessment is also a very important part of eliminating your pain and restoring your health.
What you’re eating is either adding to your pain or taking away from it.
Most golfers that I work with have 4-5 of these root causes and in order to stop the damage to their low back and begin to heal, they MUST correct each of these or their low back pain will continue to be a problem throughout their lives and it’ll get progressively worse.
Which of these root causes are contributing to your low back pain right now?
To fix the root causes of your low back pain you must identify and target the muscle imbalances in your body and that takes a lot of education, experience, and skill.
I’m a human movement specialist and as a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and National Academy of Sports Medicine I have been helping people with low back pain for 20 years, including many Olympic and professional athletes.
The focus of my career is helping golfers like you.
If you’d like to get help identifying the root causes of your low back pain, the first step is to book a free 30-minute “Video Troubleshooting Session For Golfers” where I’ll explore your health history in more detail and take you through a step-by-step posture and movement assessment to discover which of the 5 root causes are keeping you stuck in pain.
This is the first step I take with all of my low back pain patients and it’s the most critical, because once we know which of the root causes we need to attack, you’ll have a plan to heal your low back.
I can’t wait to work with you to heal your low back and take back your health.
In good health,
I’m a Kinesiologist, Golf Fitness Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Nutritionist. I know how low back pain can take over your life. For years I suffered with three bulging discs in my low back, as well as arthritis and facet joint syndrome. I’ve learned how to not only manage my low back pain, but eliminate it almost entirely without prescription drugs and I can show you how to do the same.
*Note: All appointments and assessments are conducted virtually
“I was introduced to Thomas after my second season of professional hockey in 2002. I was immediately impressed by his knowledge and devotion to his methods. He managed to address many issues I had in my training, diet, and treatment of past injuries which made a huge difference in my performance. I am extremely grateful for Thomas’s guidance and expertise as it allowed me to bring the best version of myself to my sport. I would highly recommend Thomas to anyone looking to better themselves in sport or life in general”
-Jesse Fibiger, NHL hockey player
“After suffering catastrophic injuries from a rock climbing accident, I felt like my progress in recovery had stagnated, and my physical job was becoming more difficult to manage. Thomas helped me in a big way, identifying muscular imbalances that were exacerbating my aches and pains, and giving me the tools I needed to correct these imbalances. This allowed me to return to work mostly pain free, and provide me with greater functionality in day to day life.”
“When I met Thomas is 2002 I was playing hockey for Northern Michigan University. I quickly trusted his techniques and he was a pleasure to work with. He always brought attention to detail to everything we did, as well as, explained why we did things and what the benefits were. His communication skills were excellent and he had some very innovative ideas. While working with Thomas I was able to improve all aspects of my physical performance, he made me stronger, faster and more agile. He was also able to address any injury I sustained during the long hockey season. With the training, meal advice and support I received from Thomas, I was able to make it to the NHL in 2003 with the Phoenix Coyotes. I would highly recommend Thomas as a kinesiologist and nutritionist to anyone. He is very intelligent, hard working and incredibly driven. Anyone looking to recover from injury or advance their physical attributes would benefit immensely from Thomas’ guidance.”
-Mike Stutzel, NHL hockey player
“For the better part of a year I was having issues with my upper back and neck. I’m active, and enjoy hockey, curling and most of all -playing with my 4yr old son. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to escape the realities of working a desk job for years -it caught up to me. I tried massage, chiro, and physio -it wasn’t working and the pain was preventing me from doing the things I love. An assessment with Thomas, he armed me with the tools and knowledge I needed to address my condition. In just a few weeks the results have been amazing. Better yet, my program can be done at home and only requires 20 minutes in the morning. He is a wizard! Thanks Thomas!”
“I had the good fortune to be a client of Thomas’ a number of years ago.
I found him to be knowledgeable, encouraging, and open-minded. These traits helped me trust Thomas and his program until I was able to develop to a more comfortable body weight and to reduce self-consciousness. His results-focused fitness plan helped to increase my awareness of proper movement and nutrition. Thomas ensured my sessions were injury-free and enjoyable, and as a result of that positive experience, I have continued to make my health a priority since that time.”