How To Prevent Stiff Neck When Doing Sports

Neck pain and sport: a sign not to be underestimated

Anyone has suffered, at least once in their life, from neck pain and stiffness. Sedentary people are likely to experience neck pain more frequently than those who lead an active life. However, in some cases, cervical stiffness can be an indication of a trauma caused by sporting activity and must be taken seriously to avoid the aggravation of the trauma and the complications related to it.

How to recognize a serious cervical injury

A simple stiff neck, a strain or something more serious? To understand if it is a severe trauma it’s important to refer to a specialist. However, some considerations can be made about the severity of the injury that occurs with neck pain. It might be a severe trauma when:

However, if the pain is the result of direct trauma, whiplash or fall, it is important to seek medical advice immediately.

The most frequent causes of neck stiffness in sports

Tensions and posture errors β€” Among the least worrying causes of pain in the cervical area one can certainly include contractures from stress, cold or trauma from poor posture. All sportspeople can be subject to this type of problem.

Strains and sprains β€” In many sports that require vigorous sudden movements of the head or upper back muscle group (such as weightlifting, swimming, basketball, or volleyball).

Contact bruises and whiplash β€” In contact sports (football, rugby, football, hockey and, of course, boxing and martial arts), localized injuries to the cervical area are not uncommon. They can also be serious in nature.

How to prevent and mitigate stiff neck in sports?

Always start with a warm-up. The warm-up helps to prepare your muscles for the work and avoid traumas as you exercise with the improved blood circulation in the target areas.

Pay close attention to your posture. Always follow the instructions for every exercise to keep the physiologically correct alignment of your body. 

Wear good sports clothes and posture correctors. These professionally designed pieces of undergarments will keep your neck and shoulders aligned without any effort on your part, and provide the essential support for your spine. 

Do therapeutic exercises approved by doctor if you already experience neck stiffness or pain. The team of sports doctors of University of Wisconsin proved the efficacy of moderate physical activity in athletes with stiff neck. 

Do not skip stretching. Stretching preserves or increases tendon muscle flexibility and elasticity, essential for maintaining a correct range of joint motion and for preventing damage to the musculoskeletal system. It improves tissue elasticization and muscle tone, allowing the muscle to work in all its degrees of movement. Furthermore, it improves vascularity (blood circulation) and in the post workout it helps to reduce the feeling of tiredness.

Regardless of when you do it, the important thing is to be able to carve out even just 10 minutes a day. Or distribute the various exercises throughout the day. However, as soon as you wake up in the morning, you need to pay a little more attention, because as a result of the stillness at night your neck will be a little more rigid.