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The science behind Tiger Woods' back spasms

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DORAL, Fla. – To be technically correct, the back spasms that prompted Tiger Woods to withdraw from last week’s Honda Classic were the result of an issue born from troubles with the world No. 1’s thoracolumbar fascia.

The thoracolumbar fascia is the tough connective tissue found in the small of the back, or – as one longtime PGA Tour trainer explained – the cellophane that surrounds muscle.

“Actually when I was warming up, it was tight. Wouldn't loosen up,” Woods said of his early exit on Sunday from PGA National. “The fascia gets tight and starts pulling on different parts of the body and it's like cellophane; that's what fascia is.  It starts pulling on certain parts and next thing you know, things start shutting down.”

According to the Tour trainer, fascia issues are not uncommon in golf because of the repetitive motion of the swing and could cause back spasms, but not immediately.


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“Back spasms would be four steps down from a fascia issue. First you would have tightness and then other muscles would start to compensate which could lead to fatigue and then back spasms,” the trainer explained.

Therapy for fascia issues would involve deep tissue massages and muscle activation and Woods said he was taking anti-inflammatories to help alleviate the pain.