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Neck and Shoulder Pain After Spin Class

Do you have frequent neck and shoulder pain after taking a spin class or any high-intensity group fitness class? 

Recently, we’ve worked several patients who have experienced this: They attend a spin class that incorporates weighted exercises, such as  lifting arms to the side/front or extending them up. They are doing these exercises consecutively for five minutes. Everything feels great during the class, but later they are developing neck and shoulder pain. 

What’s Triggering the Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Usually the culprit behind the head and neck pain is that the weights you choose are WAY TOO HEAVY. In a group class, it can be tempting to choose the same size weight as the person next to you – which might not be the right size for you. That becomes an issue if you don’t have good stability in your neck and shoulder.

The problem becomes compounded when you’re doing these exercises consecutively for several minutes. This will cause you muscles to get fatigued quickly.  If while you’re doing those weights and trying to keep up with the class, your muscles can’t maintain that stability with the right form in the right way, you’ll start recruiting other muscles, which will be problematic. 

When the rotator cuff and upper back muscles get tired, then the upper trapezius muscles will kick in to keep you lifting the weights. The upper trapezius muscles help the shoulders move up and down and connects all the way into the head and neck. If the upper trapezius is overworked, it can start to cause neck pain as well as pain that radiates down into the shoulder blade. If you continue to do these exercises incorrectly, over time other muscles can start to get involved. 

What can be done?

  1. 1. Choose a weight that when you are doing these exercises you are not shrugging your shoulders AT ALL. (Unless you’re doing something as part of your routine)
  2. 2. If you’re starting to feel that other muscles are getting involved – you may feel something in your neck. So if you start to feel it in areas where you shouldn’t, that’s not good
  3. 3. Try it with no weight and see if you feel better.

Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment

If you’re still having issues, even if you drop the weight, some of you may have had neck issues before the spin class and will need to be addressed in a specific sequential fashion. There might be issues with the muscles or joints.

Physical therapy can help you find relief from you neck and back pain. If you’re experiencing similar symptoms, click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to speak with one of our physical therapists. 

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