Discover possible causes of neck pain and learn how to get relief! All here on Painotopia.
This is part III of the series and covers the topic about neck pain and sports. Here, I will write about a couple of common movements and habits that can be the reason for your neck pain.
Of course the reasons why your neck might hurt bow to the universal principle of overuse, which is the most common cause of muscle and joint pain. If you have not read that article, I recommend doing it now or at least to print or bookmark it and to do so later. It will really support your general understanding about the subject.
Purposely I exclude here any injuries of the passive structures - e.g. broken vertebrae, overstretched or torn ligaments, etc. - as possible causes of neck pain. You will read about them anyway all over the Internet. So, there is no reason why I should repeat that.
Instead I will focus on things that are more under your control and that most people are not that aware of, namely movement patterns.
One tip for you:
There is a manageable number of muscles that can cause neck pain if they are tight. Study them and their functions, and you will get an idea which of your sports and what movements may be the reason for your neck pain pretty quick.
Nevertheless I want to give you some examples here.
are the troubleshooters when it comes to neck pain.
Bending your neck backwards permanently or in a repetitive manner can be a reason why you might suffer from pain in the back of your neck. Those motions occur a lot in rock climbing, swimming or badminton.
In rock climbing, no matter if you are the climber or the belayer, you have to look up quite a fair amount of time. Especially your trapezius, splenius cervicis and levator scapulae muscle have to work here a lot. All three of them can cause neck pain.
Also badminton can be a possible cause of neck pain as the players have to look up a lot in order to see the ball. If they were not doing it, well, they would not hit the ball and that would slow down the game a lot. Not that much fun...
If you love swimming and to do the breaststroke, I recommend making sure to use proper technique for breathing and swimming - head under water during exhalation -. Again it is your trapezius, splenius cervicis and levator that have to work a lot here keep your head over the water. It is not only detrimental to those muscles and can cause neck pain, but it also slows you down as a bent back neck will negatively affect your swimming position.
And again, swimming displays a brilliant example. If you are training for an triathlon or just love to do the crawl, you will have to turn your head quite often in order to get some air into your lungs. First of all this will make your upper trapezius work a lot. Secondly, if your inhalation takes always place on a round number of strokes instead of an uneven number, you will turn your head always to the same side and thus only stress one side of your upper trapezius.
This is bad. You really do not want to do that. It will lead to an overworked upper trapezius and create a muscular dysbalance in the long run.
Note: Of course, keeping your head up when doing the crawl will have the same negative effects like keeping your head over water when doing the breaststroke.
Are you a pitcher, a handball or badminton player, etc. and suffering from neck pain? If so, it might be that a tight infraspinatus muscle is your problem. This muscle is very active when you wind up for a throw or a serve. If the infraspinatus muscle is too tight, it can irritate your nervous system and send pain to your neck.
This was part III of the series. Click below for the other articles
Neck Pain Causes III