Does your neck hurt after a workout or do you have Neck pain after working out shoulders? Being physically fit and regular strength training is very important and lowers risk for many diseases but it doesn’t make you immune to a stiff or neck pain.
Neck pain can develop for many reasons due to certain diseases but neck pain only after working out shoulders can be caused by muscle pull or muscle strain due to workout. Pulled or strained muscle can make the movement of the neck uncomfortable and can restrict it to where it’s hard to turn the head. One of the common ways people strain their neck is when they strength train their shoulders, especially with exercises which involve overhead movements. There are other causes as well like training overuse or repetition of motions, thoracic outlet syndrome, poor posture etc.
What is Neck pain after working out shoulders?
Physical activity is very important for feeling great and staying healthy however the wrong execution of a particular move, like after working out or a golf swing or swimming stroke, may wind up causing neck pain. Usually people don’t realize this that their activity is to blame.
In this article I have explained everything related to Neck pain after working out shoulders.
While strengthening shoulders, neck muscles are typically working at the same time because many of the neck muscles also connect to portions of the shoulder. If the form is not proper or the weight is too heavy, one can be placing too much stress on the neck muscles. To help overcome this type of problem, performing an upper trapezius stretch as part of warm-up routine and cool- down can be helpful .
What are the possible causes of Neck pain after working out shoulders?
- Neck Pain with shoulder training
Overhead press is the of the most common shoulder exercises which causes neck pain for some people.
Anytime one raises arm above shoulder level holding weights, it places pressure on the Levator scapulae, the muscles in the back and sides of the neck that connect the collarbone ( clavicle) to the humerus or the upper arm.
These muscles are the ones which help to stabilize the neck area. The Levator scapulae also comes into play every time we raise our arm above your head. If Levator scapulae are too tight or inflexible, one could experience neck pain after a workout, especially if one works with weights and does overhead exercises.
But no to mention, tightness in other muscles can cause neck pain after lifting overhead as well. For example, tight pectorals and weakness in the muscles in the upper back area or in anterior shoulders, including the big trapezius muscle, creates an imbalance that can trigger the neck pain and stiffness.
There are some other exercises that can trigger neck pain which are behind-the-neck pull-downs and shoulder presses. These are exercises that should be done with caution if one has history of neck pain. One can also find a safer substitute.
Lateral raises may stress the shoulder joints too. The stress on the joint is greatest when the arms are facing parallel to the floor.
- Repetitive motions and overuse
Some actions require the same motions again and again, like looking up while painting a ceiling, or looking down while laying the bricks. When a muscle or a joint gets overused, it can lead to inflammation and stiffness.
- Performing new task
Muscles are more susceptible to becoming strained when worked in an unusual way. Example, carrying a long, bulky thing which might not be too heavy, but it requires bending the neck at an unusual angle, it can cause a stiff or painful neck later.
- Poor Posture
Another factor that contributes to neck pain and stiffness that is not related to weight training is poor posture.
When sitting in a chair and leaning the head forward, Levator scapulae muscles contract which causes the muscles to shorten and tighten in the result, one can develop neck pain, and even dull headaches called cervicogenic headaches.
However doesn’t matter what triggered it, strained neck muscles can cause pain in the neck that sometimes radiates to the shoulders.
The neck may feel stiff and one might have problems turning the head from side to side . If it’s just a muscle strain, one must not have numbness or tingling in the hands, or any upper extremity weakness because these may be signs of a more serious cause, such as cervical stenosis or even a herniated disc.
Consulting a doctor is necessary if anyone has these symptoms.
- Shoulder impingement
It’s a very common cause of shoulder pain, in this problem a tendon inside the shoulder rubs or catches the surrounding tissue and bone as one lifts the arm It mostly affects the rotator cuff , that is the rubbery tissue which connects the muscles around the shoulder joint to the top of the arm.
- Thoraic outlet syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome is actually a group of disorders that happens when blood vessels or nerves in the space between the clavicle and the first rib are compressed. This can cause pain in the shoulders and even in the neck and also lead to numbness in the fingers
- Scapular Nerve entrapment
Here a nerve is trapped which can lead to neck pain and other pain as well.
How to Relieve Neck Pain after working out shoulders?
Make sure you are doing overhead presses in the right form. Strengthening the muscles in your upper back to correct muscle imbalances between the pecs and the upper back and working on it.
For the tight muscles in the neck and pectorals, stretching helps in temporarily lengthening them and relieve tightness. Effective exercises are present for lengthening tight neck muscles include neck rotations, kind of neck tilts, shoulder roll, and neck bends in each direction in a slow and a controlled manner.
Don’t stretch too much that to the point of pain though.
Foam rolling the upper back to relax the muscles can also provide some relief for neck pain and stiffness. One might find that stretching the pectoral muscles too eases neck pain since tight muscles and weak trapezius muscles play role in neck pain as well .
The most easy stretch for the pectorals is a doorway stretch, how to do one :
- Stand in the doorway with both arms outstretched at 90 degrees against the frame of the door.
- Then step forward with arms in this position until and
- unless you feel the stretch in the chest.
- Hold this stretch for 20 seconds at least.
- Then step back to the starting position.
- Repeat this 4 to 5 times, each time feel the stretch
How to prevent neck pain after working out shoulders?
If one has stiff neck or are trying to prevent neck pain, take extra precautions to avoid worsening the pain while training and in everyday life.
Below are some tips:
- Don’t push the muscles to exhaustion while doing overhead exercises. Stop when the muscles fatigue. Don’t push to failure of muscles.
- Use lighter weights at beginning. The muscles in the upper part of body are smaller and can’t handle much resistance. If one has history of neck pain, reduce the weight even more.
- During overhead movement keep head neutral .
- Carry heavy objects like weights, close to the body, not from far with your arms outstretched.
- Hold your smartphone at a level with the face so there is no need to look down. Looking down amplifies the pressure on the spine.
- Sit in the chair at work properly and take small breaks. Don’t sit for too long that too in one position. Make sure not looking up or down to see on the laptop.
When to visit a doctor for neck pain after working out shoulders?
- If it worsens in spite of self-care.
- Or if it persists after several weeks of self-care.
- Or else radiates down your arms or legs.
- If accompanied by other symptoms like headache, numbness or tingling.
Drive to the emergency room if one has severe neck pain associated with:
- Traumatic injury: After an accident includes car collisions, diving accidents or falls if after this neck pain is present a doctor must be consulted.
- Muscle weakness: Weakness in an arm or leg or trouble walking can be a sign of a more serious problem which requires urgent attention.
- High fever: If one has severe neck pain with a high fever, might have meningitis, an infection of the membrane covering your spinal cord and brain. So in that case it’s an emergency.
After reading this you might have a better idea why the neck feels stiff or achy after a strength-training workout:
- It’s most likely to be a problem on upper body day when one does overhead exercises, like overhead presses.
- Watch your form carefully while doing this exercise and the strength imbalances between the front and back of your upper body.
- One must not try to lift more than he can handle either.
- Start with lighter weight and work up for using heavier weights in overhead presses. It’s a tough type of exercise to execute with good form.
- Once upper body workout is finished and body is cooled down, end the session with some neck and pectoral stretches slowly.
- If one has persistent neck pain or develops other symptoms such as numbness or weakness in the arms or shoulders, doctor should be consulted to rule out other causes.
- If it’s persistent, he may recommend sessions with a proper physical therapist