By Paudie O'Donovan
Christmas is only just behind us so people are starting to think about getting out training again. Like I’ve said so many times before, rest and recovery is so important when it comes to fitness. It’s a balance between the two that you need to find, and doing so is vital to staying injury free. The last thing you want is an injury at the beginning of the season.
This week I want to talk about your neck. How important it is to mind it and look after it. Normal function of the brains control centre is dependent on adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients through a dense network of blood vessels. The neck supports the left and right vertebral artery and the left and right carotid artery. Neurally it carries all the message to the lower extremities, arms and torso, not to mind supporting your head from once you get out of bed in the morning till you hit the pillow again that night. Did you know that your neck can actually do 10 movements? Up, down, rotational left, rotational right, lateral left, lateral right, protraction forward, retraction back, compress down and depress up – amazing. It’s ok to do these movements separately at once but you’ve got to be careful if you try to do two together.
Most people complain of tightness in the back of the neck, around the trapezius area and stiffness running out into their shoulders. Light stretching can ease this stiffness and turning your head to its area of bind in the direction of the ten movements that I’ve mentioned will help.
Again if you’re sitting in front of a computer screen all day then giving yourself a break every so often is a great prevention.
Lying down in a POE (Position of ease) with a pillow under your head and resting will help if you’re suffering from neck pain. A visit to a physical therapist to get treatment and advice is critical, and if the pain doesn’t subside within a few days then it would be important to consult your doctor without further delay.