Maybe you’re working out in order to lose weight. Maybe you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular health or your flexibility or strength, or maybe you just work out for the love of your sport. Whatever the reason, if your workout is causing you pain in your neck or your back, then you have a problem.
No matter what your sport, if you’re walking away or waking up the next day with pain in your neck or your back, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. You may be overusing muscles or you may have put too much strain on your joints. You may even have a pinched nerve.
Though there are many different causes for post-exercise pain, in most cases the pain is the result of poor posture. Neck pain can occur when people fail to pull their chin into a neutrao posture, keeping their chins pushed forward and their shoulders slouched. This leads to neck tension, as well as tension in the surrounding muscles. When it comes to lower back pain following exercise, the issue comes from allowing the lower spine to arch too much. This creates what is known as a “hyperlordosis” that it not anatomically based: rather it is simply bad posture, and therefore can be addressed relatively easily.
Here are some examples of specific exercises and related pain:
• Biking: Cyclists often lean too far over or towards their bike’s handlebars. When they do this, they round their back and hunch their shoulders towards their ears. To correct this problem, relax your shoulder blades as you lean forward. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders down, away from your ears while sticking out your chest.
• Swimming: Though swimmers strive for consistency in their breathing motion, when they always turn their head to the same side to breathe, they shorten the muscles on the other side. To correct this problem, alternate strokes as well a the side on which you breathe.
• Golf: Golfers frequently overextend their necks when they swing. This causes tension, and carrying the golf bag can also lead to problems and pain. To correct this problem, switch sides when carrying your golf bag and make sure that you tuck your chin into your neck when swinging.
• Walking or Running: Runners and power walkers frequently allow their lower spine to arch. When their bottoms stick out too far behind them it leads to lower back pain that is fixable. To correct the problem, concentrate on tucking your spine under you into a more neutral position. You can practice this position by standing with your back against the wall, hands on your hips. Roll your hip under in order to decrease the size of the space between your lower back and the wall.
Gentle stretches may alleviate your pain, but if this doesn’t help you may need the attention of a spine specialist. Contact our office to set up a time for a convenient appointment.