If you are an athlete in any sport, I’d guess that you’ve suffered from neck and shoulder issues. Most of the time athletes don’t have symptoms of injury (pain, loss of flexibility or movement, etc.) in just their neck or just their shoulder, so both areas are usually addressed together.
The thing that I also see unfortunately, is that when addressing neck and shoulder issues, there is a tendency to look at muscle function LAST when trying to resolve an injury. And especially as an athlete, muscle function should be one of the FIRST things you address.
A good amount of the muscles in the neck and shoulder attach to the neck and all the way down the back. What this means is that if you have neck and/or shoulder injury, your muscles are definitely not functioning well. And because the muscles attach down your back, you are most likely on your way to a back injury (or that a back injury is contributing to your neck and shoulder issues).
You see, not addressing muscle function affects your ability to recover from injury and could possibly lead you down a path of future injury.
So what should you do if you have neck and shoulder issues?
The safest and most effective strengthening focus for most neck and shoulder issues is the CORE.
Now, that’s not to say that strengthening the shoulder and neck are not helpful or important. It is however, important to have a strong foundation (i.e. the core) for the neck and shoulder to work with in order to avoid instability from the core causing future injury or a recurrence of symptoms in the shoulder and neck.
And don’t forget, the muscles of the neck and shoulder run all the way down the back. If you only address the neck and shoulder area of the muscles, you’re not strengthening almost 2/3rds of the length of a lot of muscles.
If you have neck and shoulder issues, you need to start appropriately and consistently training your core.
And if you think that because you can squat big or deadlift a truck or do palates/yoga, that you have a strong core, THINK AGAIN.
More to come about appropriate and effective core training in my next blog post