Neck or cervical injuries can have painful and lasting consequences, especially if left untreated. Learning ways to prevent this type of injury while working out is key to prevention. Noticing any developing or worsening pain is also important, so you can seek the proper medical care.
If you have not performed certain types of workouts in a while or are starting a new type of fitness activity, you may want to consider attending classes or working with a reputable personal trainer to learn proper techniques and make sure that your regimen incorporates all the necessary elements to avoid injury, including to your cervical area. As always, consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
#1: Make Sure to Warm Up
Spending enough time to warm up before a workout is important to prepare your body for increased physical activity, especially if you are planning high-intensity or high-impact exercise. You can opt for a light jog, some dynamic movements, or a few laps in a swimming pool depending on what your workout is going to involve. Warming up your muscles and getting your blood flowing help minimize the risk of injury.
In addition to your warm-up, you should consider stretches for your whole body and especially for the areas you are going to target with your workout. This helps loosen and elongate your muscles which optimizes their resistance. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about neck-specific stretches if this is an area you are being especially careful with.
You can also incorporate stretching to ease your body out of the workout before moving on with the rest of your day.
#3: Focus on Proper Posture and Technique
While you may be tempted to increase the number of reps you are doing or the intensity of your workout, you should prioritize learning and performing appropriate posture and technique. Being mindful of your stance and movements is one of the main methods you can avoid neck injury.
Maintaining a neutral spine and engaging the appropriate muscles in a specific exercise, including when weightlifting, can make a significant difference in preventing neck injuries. If you notice any discomfort in your neck, pause, and readjust your form.
#4: Give Your Body Enough Time to Recover
If you experience neck pain after a workout, you should apply cold to the area to alleviate pain. Although regular physical activity plays a central role in a healthy lifestyle, you should make sure to give your body, including your neck, sufficient time to rest between your workouts.
You may consider focusing on higher-impact exercises only on certain days of the week and staying physically active with less straining fitness options on other days.
When to See an Orthopedic Specialist for Your Neck Pain
If you experience any of the following you should see an orthopedic specialist:
- Frequent or increasing neck stiffness or pain
- Flare-ups with certain movements during or outside of your workouts
- Reduced range of motion in the neck
- Cold or heat application does not provide the relief it used to
- Over-the-counter pain medication is not as effective, or you need to take them more often
At Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, we offer comprehensive services to identify and treat back and neck pain. You can expect compassionate care and cutting-edge technology to restore your health. We have in-house medical imaging equipment in addition to our surgical facilities and our physical and occupational therapy services. Our providers treat a wide range of cervical conditions and we are committed to personalized care to maximize your results.
Are you experiencing sudden or worsening neck pain? Call Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida today at 239-215-2008 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment in Fort Myers, FL.