Although the winter was not too harsh (that’s what people keep telling me) in Michigan, Spring seems to be finally here. With Spring in tow, what’s on many people’s minds is golf. As an Augusta, Ga native, golf is a natural liking. Augusta and golf is synonymous especially with the Masters.
Nevertheless, the question I get from many patients the past few months with Spring here is when can I play golf after spine surgery. First off, there is no science or rules regarding how long one must wait before playing golf after spine surgery. But, do not get too overexcited. Playing golf just after having spine surgery, especially a spine fusion, is not ideal.
To help my patients, I typically quote the most recent article on return to golf after spine surgery, published in 2011. In this study, over 1000 spine surgeons were surveyed on when they allow patients to play golf. 500+ surgeons responded. Here are the results:
- After a lumbar laminectomy or discectomy, the most common recommended time for return to golf was 4-8 weeks
- After anterior cervical fusion, 2-3 months
- After lumbar fusion, 6 months.
These are just guidelines. For my patients, I typically follow the same rules. I tell patients once they reach these timeframes and you get the go ahead from me, first start off with chipping and short irons. If you can tolerate those parts of your game without pain, you can progress to longer irons then finally driver. Hope this helps.
Drive them long and straight!