This is the final post in this blog series of Common Injuries and How to Prevent them. This last post will focus on neck issues and what an athlete can do if they are encountering problems with this area. We would like to send a big thank you out the Andrew Sabarre, owner/physiotherapist at Pivotal Health, for helping us with this series and for shedding light on these common problems and what steps and athlete can take to prevent injury.
How does the injury start?
Typically, a neck injury starts with a pinching sensation in the area, often accompanied by rotation issues and discomfort when turning your head. Other signs there may be a problem include aching across the neck and through the shoulder blade region, which may be caused by a pinched nerve.
What movements should be avoided?
There are a number of movements which may aggravate a neck injury. Kettlebell swings and handstand push ups can be problematic, as well as any shrugging movement, such as the clean or the snatch. Athletes should also be careful with wall balls and try to avoid letting the wall ball crash down on them.
How to prevent injury?
In order to avoid hurting your neck, it is important to practice good posture throughout all movements. You should always be maintaining a neutral neck position when performing exercises and make sure you do not crash, or slam hard on your head during a handstand push up. Athletes should also focus on mobility and roll out the upper traps, as tightness in this area often causes neck injuries.
When to seek help?
If you are finding that the injury is not dissipating with time, even though you are stretching and rolling, then it may be time to see a physiotherapist. The physio would be able to address the root cause of the issue and provide treatment, as well as exercises for you to complete on your own. Both Andrew Sabarre and Gretchen McLennan are well versed in treating neck issues and would be happy to help. They know how important regular training is to a CrossFit athlete and they will work with you to get you back in peak form and working out regularly.
Also remember to talk to your coaches and ask them to check that you are performing the exercises correctly. They can tell you if you are moving properly and can also provide modifications if needed. They always have your best interest in mind and want to provide a safe atmosphere, while also ensuring you get a killer workout.