The neck is a delicate region made of complex bones and numerous muscles, and you need to take caution while exercising to avoid neck injury. This is an area of the body that must be kept healthy and strong, especially when you are actively exercising. You can take a proactive approach to avoid neck injuries when exercising.
First, it is important to realize the underlying causes of neck pain. Common causes include:
- Poor posture while doing everyday activities like using a computer or watching television.
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
- Car accidents and sports injuries.
- High impact exercises and using poor technique for strenuous exercises, such as weightlifting.
While poor posture is a tough habit to break and accidents are unpredictable, there are measures that you can take to protect your neck before, during and after exercising to protect your neck from injury.
Preparing your body for exercise is just as important as having the right kind of shoes or protective gear. The following actions can be taken before you start a workout to avoid neck injury.
Study stretch exercises for the neck and upper body, and do them before every single workout. Many different yoga postures and exercises are especially appropriate and gentle on the neck.
It is important to get the heart beating and the blood flowing when you exercise. Rather than jumping right into rigorous exercise, warm up slowly. Aerobic exercise, such as light jogging or riding a stationary bike, is a great way to warm up the muscles and a solid warm up will help prevent neck injury.
When you are exercising, it is important to listen to your body and evaluate your unique needs. The following actions can help you evaluate your needs and avoid injury.
If you are lifting weights, pay special attention to the position of your neck and focus on using big muscles, like the hips and legs, to do the work. Keep your head in a neutral position when lifting any amount of weight.
When doing any exercise you do that involves twisting, such as step aerobics or weight lifting, use caution. Use your body as a gage for how much you can handle; pain is an indication of overexertion.
After a workout and on the days in between your workouts, the following actions can help you recover quickly and reduce the likelihood of a neck injury.
Ice and Rest
If you often find that your neck, shoulders and upper back are sore after you exercise, use a cold compress or apply ice directly after a strenuous work out. This can help to reduce pain and discomfort. Be sure to allow adequate time for your body to recover following a strenuous work out too. Ice followed by rest is a great combination for reducing pain and preventing further injury.
Massage can be an effective and efficient way to reduce neck pain and minimize the possibility of injury in your next workout.
Pay attention to how your neck feels before, during and after exercise. Use a combination of the techniques above to keep your neck feeling great and your workouts on track.