With activities such as swimming becoming increasingly popular in the summer months, we wanted to share with you some useful information that highlights the connection between swimming and neck pain.
Did you know the average weight of a human head is 4.5-5kg! Surprisingly heavy. Our necks are an incredible part of the body – supporting the weight of our head safely and at the same time, allowing for a range of movement.
(Hooray for necks!)
When swimming, the weight of our head is noticeably reduced however the physical demand that we still place on our necks through the action of simply breathing is significant.
Incorrect swimming technique can lead to strain and injury of your neck.
If you need to see us, please be assured we are ready to help you safely via video/telephone call if you are travelling abroad or unable to get to the practice.
Your cervical vertebrae are stacked on top of each other between spongey, shock absorbing discs, and are held together by ligaments (think of this like a chain link design). The top vertebrae form a joint with the base of your skull.
If one of these cervical joints becomes stuck, it will limit movement, create a strain on the joints above and below and no doubt be a painful experience. When swimming, actions such as repeated turning to one side, or excessive extension (lifting your head) can also cause a strain on these joints causing inflamed ligaments and/or pinching nerves leaving your neck.
It is important to understand that the muscles around your neck need to be balanced in strength and tension so that they can support your joints and provide you with the ability to move with ease and pain-free! An unbalanced network of muscles can lead to painful muscle spasm and develop trigger points.
Neck pain can be relieved through massage as well as specific physical therapy techniques such as joint mobilisations or manipulations. Soft tissue myofascial release, trigger point therapy, dry needling and heat or ice therapy can also help.
It is important to understand that your neck pain might not have originated exclusively from swimming, but it could aggravate the problem. Analyse the bigger picture, for example; is your workspace set up using an ergonomic design?
If you seek professional help for your neck pain, your common environment is typically something that will be discussed to aid your recovery. It is worth thinking about now and making appropriate changes to prevent potential discomfort in the future.
Click the play button above to watch and join in with Physio, Ben as he guides you through some useful Neck and Shoulder Stretches.