Can Running cause Neck pain?

Have you ever wondered why running can cause neck pain? Today’s video provides information on this phenomenon of the human body. Running is a sport that uses your legs, which is quite obvious. Bad posture from years of sitting—at a desk, in a car, on a couch—doesn’t magically disappear when you head out for a run. Turns out, feeling this neck and shoulder discomfort during or after running is a sign that you’re letting your posture slip.

Facts about running can cause neck pain

“Every step you take a on a run can be considered a rep, and if a runner finds herself in a compromised upper body position, it comes as no surprise that tension in the neck and shoulders build as the reps add up,” Katie Harper, D.P.T., of Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy, tells SELF. “Just like we have the tendency to hold poor postures sitting at work, believe it or not, this can also become a problem while we run.”

Harper says the most common form mistakes that lead to neck and shoulder discomfort are slouching, jutting your head outward, and rounding your shoulders forward and elevated toward the ears.

How to avoid neck pain?

If you’ve ever tried to run a little more than you’re completely comfortable with, it’s likely your form has suffered a bit—whether it was enough to cause discomfort or not. Sometimes people feel it in their lower back—if the core and hips aren’t able to support the sustained running motion, your pelvis may rotate and end up putting pressure on your lower back.

In other words, when you go out for your next run, do a quick posture check. “Focus on keeping your shoulders back and down and away from your ears, pinch your ribcage down toward your hips, and let your arms swing freely while your fists point forward. Remember, your arms should be used to counterbalance your stride, not to produce force,” Harper says. If you start to feel anything in your neck or shoulders, do a quick body check and tweak your positioning.

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