The human spine just isn’t built for the golf swing, is it?
BARRY: Even with accomplished golfers, even the pros, many have to curtail or even stop because of lower back problems that are inherent in the movements, especially with the rotation in their lower back.
Anyone who’s watched Tiger Woods’ career over the years couldn’t help but notice the extreme amount of rotation he would get in his lower back during the golf swing; it was just phenomenal. This is one of the points in treating lower back conditions. We know the lower back can only accommodate thirty to forty degrees of rotation, and when you look at the extreme amount of rotation many golfers get, it’s understandable why they suffer debilitating disc problems at the height of their careers.
Fred Couples has had problems, as he has tremendous rotation as well. It’s the nature of the swing — two planes working against each other, and against the ground — and it causes a lot of friction.
BARRY: This is one of the areas for which we were particularly interested in developing The Lift. In my practice, I really concentrated on treating lower back conditions, and specifically disc problems. We always understood that the disc, because it doesn’t get a really healthy natural blood supply after about our mid-30s, that’s a deterrent to efficient healing whenever people suffered those types of injuries.
And you’ve spent years exploring ways to lesson those injuries, or alleviate their effects.
BARRY: The techniques that we used involved a combination of movements to include flexion, or bending forward, as well as traction, or stretching the discs apart — using the vertebrae as leverage. These seemed to be the two movements that were the most therapeutic, and helped patients heal more quickly.
In the act of those two dynamic movements, you’re actually pushing more blood into the disc tissues — the outer fibrous portion, what we call the annulus, and the inner portion, the jelly-like substance inside the disc.
It’s that outer fibrous ring that’s so critical. When we rotate the back, and suffer injuries like golfers in their swings, we’re producing micro-tears in that tissue. That’s what causes a lot of problems when golfers begin to develop issues like disc bulges or prolapses — ruptures. Many of them require surgery, but recent studies have shown that less than five percent of the time, surgery is effective or even warranted in patients like that.
So we wanted to come up with a device that would imitate or reproduce those movements of flexion and traction and combine them very comfortably, and allow patients to perform and duplicate these movements at home. That’s what we’ve hoped to achieve by designing The Lift.