Back for the Future

ELDOA is a revolutionary approach to preventing and relieving golf-related back pain.

By Dee Tidwell

For golfers, back pain is as common as an 18th-hole press. Some of my clients occasionally struggle with it, while others are literally debilitated by it. They’re not alone. Seventy percent of the population has some varying degree of a disc bulge in their spine, making it the second-most common ailment behind headaches. Whether you experience pain from disc bulge depends on a number of variables, but a specifically built exercise program can prevent painful back episodes, period.

However, you can also prevent back pain with what will become within the next five years the “greatest” tool that the medical, fitness and golf world will ever see. It’s called ELDOA.

Already some on the PGA Tour, including one of the most famous of all time, are using it not only to diminish and possibly eliminate back pain, but also to help take their performance to the next level.

Created by the world-renowned doctor of osteopathy and researcher of fascia (the thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle) Guy Voyer of France, ELDOA is the French acronym for a revolutionary stretching and exercise method. Translated into English, it goes by the acronym LOADS (Longitudinal Osteoarticular Decoptation Stretching).

Well what they heck does that mean?

ELDOA are spinal-segment specific or joint specific stretches that use the fascial chains of the body to directly influence these particular regions to create decompression. Think of these exercises as “active” decompression moves you can do for one minute to help you feel and move better.

Voyer’s research revealed the primary causes of back pain as compression from gravity and/or the result of an accident or trauma. He resolved to change to present paradigm of over-prescribing medicine to numb pain, surgery—another trauma that isn’t always effective—and physical therapy that didn’t necessarily address the cause of the pain.

So he set out to create a specific exercise to treat the cause.

ELDOA EXERCISES IMPROVE:

  1. Joint mechanics
  2. Blood flow
  3. Pressure on disc(s)
  4. Decreasing pain
  5. Muscle tone
  6. Posture
  7. Sense of well being and awareness

So what I want to do is introduce you to one of the most important ELDOA exercises that you can do anywhere. It’s the exercise for L5/S1, the most common source for back pain for most people and especially for golfers. And it only takes one minute to do.

NOTE: IT IS CRITICAL TO DO THESE MOVEMENTS IN THE SEQUENCE SHOWN.

  1. Before starting, do a simple warm up for 5 minutes to be sure your fascia is prepared and your muscle system is warm.
  2. Go through steps 1-5 to get into posture and then hold that posture up to 1 minute, the do the reverse to come out of the posture SLOWLY and end on step #6.

FIRST, lie on your back on the floor and try to get your butt to the wall. If you can’t, back away from the wall until your knees go straight. Make sure your entire spine is flat to the floor and your tailbone doesn’t move.

SECOND, turn your legs inward as far as you can and turn your toes toward your shins.

Back pain relief exercise, 3

THIRD, maintaining the leg position, reach to the ceiling with both arms, and turn your hands outward like Spider-Man does to throw his webs.

Back pain relief exercise, 4

FOURTH, maintaining leg position still, now reach overhead with your Spider-Man hands and reach away from your body.

Back pain relief exercise, 5

FIFTH, lastly, look as low as you can between your legs and keep them there. Now keep doing all previous steps- legs turned in/ toes pulled in/ spine flat/ arms externally rotated and reaching away from wall, eyes down—NOW HOLD FOR UP TO 60 SECONDS. You may want to  start with 30 seconds as this is hard work!

Back pain relief exercise, 6

SIXTH, at the end of 30-60 seconds, relax one arm, then the other, relax your eyes, then bend one knee, the other and finish with deep breaths and head turns.

A 20-year golf fitness professional and soft tissue therapist, Dee Tidwell is owner of Colorado Golf Fitness Club (coloradogolffitnessclub.com). He is a Level Three TPI Certified Golf Fitness Pro, Golf Fitness Instructor, Junior Coach and Medical Coach; certified ELDOA trainer; and Top 50 Golf Digest Golf Fitness Pro. Contact him at [email protected] or (303) 883-0435.


Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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