Neck pain after a few minutes while running.

Patient

Q: I recently started incorporating running into my workout. I noticed that after running for a few minutes, I get a pain in the back of my neck, more toward the left side, and it sometimes goes up a little to the bottom of my head. This also happens after I jump rope for a bout a minute. I am very out of shape, but I am working on that through diet and exercise. I am slightly overweight as well. The pain that I get in my neck just worries me. It doesnt feel like a muscle so I'm not sure what it could be. Any idea of what this is?

Doctor

A:   Neck and low back pain are extremely common amongst both active and sedentary populations. The most common causes of spinal pain (from neck to low back) are: overtraining, sedentary lifestyle, muscle weakness, muscle imbalance, prior history of back pain, poor posture, overweight If you are involved in sports, training or regular physical activity, the muscles imbalances must be addressed to avoid pain episodes. I suggest that you review: your head and body position while running, your posture, your training regime and also your conditioning state. It is very important that before start any physical activity you stretch the muscles (neck, back and legs) and do an adequate warm-up.Try to review the other activities in your everyday lifeThe human frame was not meant to sit as long as we do.  The body adapts to the seated position and develops muscle imbalances. Some muscles become short and tight while others become weak and stretched. This imbalance is the underlying cause of many cases of neck or low back pain. The key to addressing postural dysfunction is to take frequent breaks and stretch. One should not sit for longer than 30-45 minutes without some type of mini-break. This may be as simple as walking around, standing up, or taking a water break. Also emphasize your diet, because overweight may cause back pain too.

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