Case Study: Golfer Improves Swing Mechanics With Physical Therapy

The Problem

The patient presents with a history of right shoulder and right-sided lower back pain and left oblique/flank pain that worsens with increases in golf play or practice time.

The patient’s chief functional complaint is difficulty with maintaining an erect trunk during the drive phase of his swing.  Notes right hip and knee tend to “dip” at the swing through phase and into the finishing phase.  He is looking to improve his golf swing mechanics by being able to achieve better hip extension through the drive phase of his swing. (Also looking to improve symptoms associated with these limitations) .


Limited Multisegmental Rotation bilaterally, Left worse than right. Limited hip flexion due to impingement restriction Bilateral (Right worse than left) hips. Hip Rotation passive range of motion limited bilaterally.  Right shoulder limitations as well. 

The Solution

We have been seeing the patient for about 12-16 sessions with dry needling and strength and conditioning to address gross pattern deficits. The sessions have resulted in an 80% objective gains in all areas of range of motion limitation in the shoulder, hips, and trunk. Looking to really refine his swing now, and work on the goals set forth above.  He is a competitive golfer looking to continue to excel in his sport. 

A particular kettlebell exercise was given to help the load areas that need fine-tuning and recruit/train muscle activation patterns that will translate to his functional need in the sport. 

The Results

As you can see from this video, the patient’s pelvis, hip, and knee no longer drop as much in the drive phase of his golf swing. This allows him to actualize his power through the drive.

Dr. JJ Thomas, DPT, MPT, CMTPT

JJ Thomas is the owner and founder of Primal Physical Therapy, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is an instructor for Evidence in Motion, and lectures and speaks nationally on the topics of Dry Needling, Functional Movement Analysis, and Functional Anatomy. She has been published in IJSPT for her contribution to a commentary on dry needling and consults as a content expert for organizations such as the APTA and FSBPT. In this role, she played a large part in the addition of a CPT code for dry needling through the AMA and was on the task force that helped identify competency standards for dry needling education nationally. JJ works with US Field Hockey teams, and individuals from US Lacrosse, US Polo, USA Track and Field, NFL, NBA, PLL, MLB, and more.
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