Is Your Workout Causing Your Stiff Neck?

Take A Second Look At Your Routines

One of the best ways to relieve neck pain is to stretch and strengthen the neck muscles and keep them fit with safe aerobic exercise. New research shows that performing neck, joint and muscle treatments as part of physiotherapy or specific strengthening exercises is an effective method of eliminating neck pain, stiffness and headaches. There is evidence that a combination of intense aerobic exercise such as running, cycling and yoga can help increase blood flow to the neck muscle and reduce neck pain, as well as keeping the neck muscles and physiology in tip-top shape. 

However, as with any exercise, working the neck can also cause damage if done improperly. In this day and age, injuries are not something to be taken lightly so have to take every precaution to minimize the risk of injury. Below are some top tips we’ve gathered to help you determine if your workout does more harm to you than good. Also, taking a look at the best cooling neck wraps and trying them out has also been noted to reduce neck pain.

Common Neck Pain Fixes

Here are some ways in which common activities lead to neck pain, and quick fixes to counteract bad form.

Gardening
Crouching and looking down, reaching very far and lifting heavy objects from the ground all stretch your neck in a way that strains the neck muscles.

Quick fix: Pull your chin back as you look down, take frequent breaks, stay close to the area you are working in and use your leg muscles to help lift heavy objects. Remember to engage your core when lifting to keep your entire upper body stiff and secure, this can help you maintain proper neck positioning.

Golf
Extending the neck while you swing causes tension in the neck. Carrying a golf bag on the same side can lead to uneven muscle tension and subsequent pain as the other side tries to compensate.

Quick fix: Bring your chin toward your neck as you look down at the ball so your neck does not extend, alternate shoulder sides when you carry a golf bag to put even pressure on your body.

Yoga
Looking up when in the downward dog position can extend the neck causing pressure on the vertebra, turning your neck too far when looking behind you can stress the neck joints unnecessarily.

Quick fix: Keep your chin toward your neck for a neutral position, limit how far you turn your head.

Swimming
When doing the crawl, always turning your head to the same side to breathe builds muscles on one side of the neck and shortens muscles on the other side, doing the breaststroke may strain neck muscles.

Quick fix: Alternate swimming strokes (crawl, breaststroke) periodically, when doing the crawl, alternate the breathing side occasionally.

Cycling
Leaning over to reach the handlebars of a mountain or road bike can cause you to round your back and hunch your shoulders up to your ears. This puts undue pressure on the back or the neck.

Quick fix: Bring your shoulder blades down and back as you lean more forward. It’s a subtle motion while still leaning forward. Get your shoulders away from your ears, slightly arch your back, and stick out your chest to limit neck pain.

 

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