The effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy compared to core muscle strengthening on club head velocity and ball carry in asymptomatic amateur male golfers
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Background Performance of the golf swing is mainly influenced by the strength and power of the torso i.e. the low back and abdominal muscles (Gluck, Bendo and Spivak 2008). As rotary velocities increase, muscle force is absorbed by deforming connective tissue, allowing for increased rotation (Gluck et al. 2008). Therefore any decrease in range of motion of the spine in the golfer, could affect performance (Nordin and Frankel 2001). The cause of poor range of motion is often a result of a physical restriction or mechanical dysfunction within the joints (Blanchard 2004). Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) has been found to bring about biomechanical effects such as an increase in range of motion (ROM) (Millan et al. 2012) by releasing trapped meniscoids and connective tissue adhesions (Pickar 2002). A lack of core muscle strength is also thought to result in an inefficient technique, which predisposes individuals to poor performance (Asplund and Ross 2010). According to Kibler (2006) core muscle strengthening (CMS) is essential for efficient biomechanical function, to maximise force generation and minimise joint loads in all types of activities. The effects of SMT on golfing performance are well documented (Jermyn 2004; Delgado 2006) however, the effects of CMS on golfing performance are unknown. By improving physiological and biomechanical function through CMS, performance indicators maybe maximised (Pickar 2002; Kibler 2006). Aim Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness ofSMT compared to CMS on performance indicators club head velocity (CHV) and ball carry (BC) in asymptomatic amateur male golfers. Methods Fifty-two asymptomatic amateur male golfers were recruited for this study, but seven withdrew leaving a final sample size of forty-five. Participants were randomly allocated to either the Core Muscle Strengthening (CMS, n=20) or the spinal manipulative group (SMT, n=25). The SMT (n=25) group received a single session of SMT while CMS (n=20) underwent a four week CMS exercise program. Core muscle strength and indicators of performance were taken before and after the intervention using the Bio-pressure feedback unit (BPU) and GC2 Foresight (swing analyser) respectively. Statistical analysis included paired t-tests to assess change in duration of contraction in the CMS group, Pearsons correlation analysis was used to assess the correlation between changes in CHV and BC intra-group and profile plots were used to show direction and trend of the effect by means of the latest version of SPSS software. Results The main findings show that CMS will improve following a four week CMS program (p= <0,001).When compared over time both SMT and CMS have the same effect on CHV (p= 0.127), whereas CMS has a more profound effect over time compared to SMT on BC (p=<0.001). Conclusion Core muscle strengthening appears to have a positive influence on CHV and BC in asymptomatic amateur male golfers, however it is still uncertain which intervention is more effective. Therefore future studies of this nature should look to increasing the duration of the study or the sample size.