Exercise is a key component of staying fit and healthy. However, many people don’t know that some types of exercise can lead to neck pain.
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, with multiple locations in Maryland, our board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists have helped many patients get relief from neck pain.
In this blog, we explain three types of exercises that can cause neck pain and how you can exercise safely.
Your neck is a vulnerable part of your body
Your neck supports the weight of your head at all times. When you stand perfectly straight and look straight ahead, the weight distribution runs down your spine, relieving pressure on your neck.
However, any change in the position of your head — tipping your chin down, back, or to one side or the other — can increase the pressure and strain on your neck. Unfortunately, there are a number of exercises that can put the head in an unbalanced position, as we’ll discuss next.
Exercises that can cause neck pain
As mentioned earlier, exercising is healthy. However, it’s important to be aware that some exercises can place strain on the neck, because they can cause the head and neck to not align with the overall spine. Here are some exercises that can cause neck strain along with some activities you can do instead.
Traditional full-body sit-ups can cause neck pain due to the misalignment of the head and neck and the jerkiness that often accompanies the motion. A safer bet is to do crunches instead, which can be controlled more smoothly and avoid strain on the neck.
Similarly, traditional push-ups mean you’re in a horizontal position, meaning your neck is having to hold up your head as an extension. Additionally, if you tilt your chin up, this can add to the strain on your neck. Try doing modified push-ups at an angle against a wall instead of parallel to the floor.
While swimming is a healthy activity, it can be hard on your neck if you only perform the breaststroke, for example, or always turn your head to the same side for a breath during a crawl stroke. You can reduce the risk of developing neck pain from swimming by mixing up what types of strokes you practice and alternating sides for breaths when crawling.
If you think your neck pain might be caused by your exercise routine, we can give you a thorough exam and discuss the issue with you. If we determine that your exercise routine is the issue, we can develop a workout plan that can help you stay fit and pain-free.
To get the help you need, book an appointment online or over the phone with CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today. Our Maryland offices are located in Hyattsville, Gaithersburg, Lanham, Dundalk, Oxon Hill, Rosedale, and Olney, and we have two offices in Baltimore.