Pulled something in my neck (again)

  • trvlmscl

    Posts: 218

    Oct 25, 2007 1:14 PM GMT
    I neck hurts pretty bad from the gym last night. I've always thought that I have decent form, but I think it got hurt on the incline bench on which I've never had formal instruction. I've hurt my neck before when lifting (not on incline), but its been a long, long time. It hurts in the back on the left side, and hurts to lift my head. Without me trying to replicate it and videotaping it (it's not a "hey this is a fun experience, lets do it again" thing), any ideas what may have caused the trauma? Any suggestions to speed recovery and ease the pain? I took 1/2 vicodin (I have some left over from wisdom teeth), been stretching it, and putting a gatorade bottle with hot water on it, but its not letting up at all. Thanx guys!
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    Oct 25, 2007 3:21 PM GMT
    Eek, no heat. Ice it down to prevent swelling. You might be exerting a lot of pressure and tension on your neck and upper shoulders while doing the incline press... something to be aware of.

    It may also be wise to see a chiropractor, especially if the pain doesn't go away.
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    Oct 25, 2007 4:17 PM GMT
    That sucks man. I have never hurt my neck before from lifting, but I do have a neck injury from an bad accident.

    I would just take it easy for sure. Alternate ice and heat. Ice is going to take down the swelling and heat is going to relax the muscle. You should also take an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, to help take down the inflammation every 4-6 hours. After a heat session, I would try to stretch it as much as possible. As long as it doesn't hurt to press directly on the muscle, if you have someone to massage it, that helps. Don't stretch it too hard though. If you haven't gotten your range of motion back in a couple days, or if you don't feel like it is feeling definitely better; I would head to the MD. You don't usually want to mess with these things for more than a few days.

    Feel better guy and take it easy.

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    Oct 25, 2007 8:55 PM GMT
    First thing: get the inflammation down, if it's there:
    Ice, and NSAIDS. Ice works best.

    Second thing: After the inflammation is down, start working your neck, directly, if you're reasonably pain free. It's probably weak and it allowed you to get hurt.

    Third thing: You may wish to try manipulation. See a good chiropractor. The manipulation may help with realignment, and muscle relaxation, but is not the cure. Likely the cause is a muscular weakness, or an imbalance. A good trainer, 30+, should be able to help you figure it out.

    Avoid medical doctors on this. Most are clueless about how to treat this stuff, and will give you NSAIDS, anyway. A good physical therapist may be able to help you find, and fix, the underlying condition but likely you'll be able to figure it out on your own.

    Strengthen the weak parts to get pain free. It works, every time.

    DO NOT put heat on it until it's calmed down. The heat will only make the inflammation WORSE.
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    Oct 25, 2007 9:06 PM GMT
    From your brief description, it sounds similar to something I've done several times. I'm no doc/pa/pt, but you might have sent the levator scapulae muscle into spasm.

    See: http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/LevatorScapulae.html

    Here's a stretch you can do that might help:

    It's usually happened to me when I turn my head during an overhead shoulder exercise. It settled down in 2-3 weeks with daily stretches my PT taught me.

    Lesson learned: stop cruising in the gym and keep my head straight forward during a lift.
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    Oct 25, 2007 10:12 PM GMT

    No more gawking!

    See what it done got ya'?
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    Oct 25, 2007 11:36 PM GMT
    Renegade67 has given you great info. I'm a massage therapist and specialize in such injuries. You'd be better off getting treatment for it by someone that knows about sports/medical massage. He or she will need to work on Levator, posterior scalenes and Upper Traps in order to break up adhesions, decrease inflamation, and stretch the muscle for you. If you don't get treatment soon, you'll only exacerbate the problem.

    Self care (such as stretching and using the proper hydrotherapy method) is good, but don't overstretch when you have an acute injury; you may make things worse.

    Also, use your eyes and peripheral vision to check out the guys at the gym or wait until your set is over.
  • trvlmscl

    Posts: 218

    Oct 26, 2007 3:28 PM GMT
    Thanks for the suggestions guys! I don't have any observable swelling, so I haven't worried about that much. When taking a hot shower last night I felt something move back there and now the pain is almost gone and I have full range of motion. Woohoo!

    Renegade: thanks for the link, however in looking around on the site I have come to the conclusion that the muscle in question is likely the Capitis Splenius.

    I'm not sure how much this issue has to do with a weakness, as I have a 17" neck (custom shirts, anyone?). But I will give it another week of stretching and then begin to gradually include some specific neck exercises at the gym. Speaking of which, I can't help watching and drooling over the abundance of eye-candy at my gym icon_smile.gif but I will at least try to focus more on my lifts when doing a set.
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    Oct 28, 2007 8:09 PM GMT

    I've done it. I have a T.E.N.S unit. Got it from a chiro catalog for 80 bucks. It has 4 pads that give off electrical stim. They break up the lactic acid build up and it's gone in a day. Also effective for pulled muscles. You might also want to try Magnesium calcium and malic acid after a work-out. Cuts soreness to zero. Especially helpful for the DOMS. Delayed onset muscle syndrome. Fancy name for muscle soreness we all get after a workout, sometimes days after working a specific body part.
    Good Luck.