Neck and muscle pain can sometimes be felt after exercise even when you didn’t feel any pain during exercise. Most of the time, this pain can be explained by what occurred during exercise; however, this is not always the case. You can take several steps to minimize the likelihood you will exercise neck and muscle pain after exercise.
A neck strain is a common injury when correct form is not maintained during resistance training exercises. One of the most common exercises that can cause neck strain is situps. While performing situps, individuals may pull excessively on their neck to help lift their body upward. This increases the load on the spine in the neck and cause a muscle to be pulled abnormally. In weight training, you must keep your neck in a neutral position, in line with the spine of your upper back, to avoid neck pain during resistance training exercises.
A muscle cramp is a non-controllable contraction of the muscles that causes the muscles to seize up or spasm. Holding a particular exercise position for an extended period of time can cause muscle cramping, according to MayoClinic.com. This type of cramping can occur in your neck if you are performing an isometric, non-moving, holding exercise that requires activation of your neck muscles. The shrugs exercise, which requires you to keep your shoulders elevated, requires you to activate the trapezius muscles located in your neck. If this position is held for long enough and your muscles become fatigued, a muscle cramp in your neck may occur.
You are prone to muscle soreness when performing new exercises or using heavier workloads, according to The Nemours Foundation. Neck exercises are typically not performed often, and their incorporation into your resistance training program can be beneficial for your neck health; however, if you haven’t done them before, you can expect some neck pain from your muscles being sore. The soreness stems from micro-damage of the muscle tissue in the neck. This is part of the normal muscular development process and should subside within three to five days.
Not all muscle pains in the neck are related to relatively minor problems such as strains, cramps or soreness. A pinched nerve, degenerative cervical disks and tetanus are all other potential causes of neck pain, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and MayoClinic.com. If you have neck pain after exercise that does not subside within five days, consult your doctor immediately to ensure there is not any underlying disease or illness.
- University of New Mexico; Contraindicated and High-Risk Exercises; Young sub Kwon
- MayoClinic.com; Muscle Cramp: Causes; July 2010
- American Council on Exercise: Get Rid of That Pain in the Neck
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Overview of Neck Pain
- The Nemours Foundation; Strength Training; May 2009
- JohnBerardi.com; Muscle Recovery; Mar 2002