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Golf is Better When Your Spine is in Line!

Are you familiar with the chiropractic system of N.U.C.C.A., the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association? If you appreciate that your spinal alignment affects the power and accuracy of your swing, than you should.

The repetitive one-sided swing is almost unique to golf. While it is true that in some other sports, such as baseball, the athlete swings on one side, the number of club swings during a typical round of golf far outnumbers the number of bat swings during a typical baseball game.

As a result, many golfer, professional or not, experience some low back pain and/or leg pain at some point in time. And that does not take into account golfers who have experienced an accident or injury during activities other than golf.

My examination of golfers in my NUCCA chiropractic office, Meakim & Stern Spinal Care in San Francisco, has shown common problems of poor posture, muscle imbalances and progressive wear and tear on the joints. Poor posture (spinal misalignment) is always the result of an accident or injury, such as a fall, car accident or sports injury.

When an injury occurs, the tissues holding the spine together are damaged, causing the spine to break down and lock into a distressed position. Upon examination, those with spinal misalignment will have one hip sitting higher than the other, one leg appearing shorter than the other, and a twisting of the body framework. In addition, the vertebrae of the spine surround the delicate brainstem and spinal cord.

Nerves exit the spine at each level, going to the head, face, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, low back, legs, feet, etc. Therefore, when the spine becomes misaligned, the brainstem, spinal cord and/or nerves can be injured, resulting in dysfunction and/or pain.

Imagine golfing with poor posture twice a week for years, placing unequal stresses on the spine, resulting in muscular imbalance, spinal degeneration and nervous system dysfunction.

As one of only about 300 chiropractors (in the world) trained in the N.U.C.C.A. system, I approach the correction of the spinal/postural misalignment in a unique way. Unlike traditional chiropractic, the NUCCA technique is extremely gentle, not involving any twisting or popping of the spine. First a very detailed x-ray analysis of the spatial relationships between the head and neck is completed.

That x-ray analysis results in calculations of the vector needed to re-establish the proper three-dimensional relationship between the rotating plates of the first and second vertebrae, looking much like an engineering project.

Few outside the medical professions know that the surfaces of the first vertebrae (known respectively as the atlas and axis), actually rotate about each other in three dimensions.

With a gentle touch on the first vertebrae, along the proper vector, truly the head is “put on straight” in space. The body reacts to the proper position of the head and neck by, in turn, going into proper positions. By very precisely correcting the position of the upper neck, the entire spine becomes balanced.

A golfer (or anyone) with a properly balanced spine is not only healthier, but has the ability to move with greater ease and accuracy, as the supporting muscles function properly. Not surprisingly, golfers treated in my clinical practice have reported decreased pain, better balance while swinging, and improved putting.

To learn more about the N.U.C.C.A. system,, or the official website,

March 2009