Couch to 5K
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Neck Injury

Seem to have picked up an injury to my neck and left shoulder.

Not sure if it is running related but seems strained and painful to lean on and to move in certain directions.

Have been running on holiday with uneven ground so that may have contributed.

Beautiful day yesterday so joined daughters catching some waves with their boards and a swim back to shore.

That plus some rest seems to have helped but pain back this morning.

Just wondered if anyone had experienced anything similar and had some advice.

10 Replies

I'm so sorry to hear about you neck pain! I had a car accident 9 years ago and got a whiplash injury from that so in my case it's not running related. I still suffer from this injury every few weeks especially when I have a lot of stress. It's the muscles that are hardening (I think this is what happened to you) and this hardening can cause many other problems. Whenever I feel my neck aching, I know that I will get a headache within the next hours and sometimes it gets so bad that I have to vomit (sorry for being graphic).

Did you have stress recently or pulled up your shoulders without realizing? Did your neck rest in a strange angle on the pillow the night before?

As you can imagine, I tried a lot to solve this problem and the best to do (if it really is a hardening) is to apply warmth. It has to be constant warmth for several hours not just for a few minutes. I use warm water bottles to lie on and when I'm walking around I apply a balm that contains capsaicin and causes warmth. I'm not living in the UK so it doesn't make sense to tell you the name of the balm I use but I'm pretty sure that this balm is easily available for you. I also take some ibuprofen so I don't feel the pain anymore. As long as you feel the pain, your muscles won't stop tensing up.

I hope my tips help you and it's just a muscle hardening and nothing more serious. Please be careful, neck injuries are nothing to ignore and can cause problems even years after the injury (see my case).

Get well soon!


Thanks and will give the heat treatment a try. I've been involved in a car crash before unfortunately but was asleep at the time (passenger, not driving !) and had a little concussion so don't recall if my neck hurt.

I suspect it may be a combination of a new bed on holiday, stressful week back at work and the uneven ground I ran on last Friday.

Anyway, fingers crossed it gets better.


I used to get a lot of neck pain when I worked as I sat at a computer for hours on end, not good for posture etc. Ibuprofen usually eased the inflammation but sometimes needed to take paracetamol as well. I used to go for acupuncture about once every 12 - 18 months. Hopefully yours will settle down soon, check your pillow is in good condition too and try gentle movements (swimming would be good) but no heavy lifting which could make it worse. Take care.


Thanks and you could be right about the computer as have been back to work after a week off and chained to my laptop catching up.

Treated to a mini massage earlier and had some anti-inflammatory applied which got me through the drive home.

I don't plan on any heavy lifting, unless someone pours me a particularly large glass of something.

Hopefully the pain passes after a good night's sleep.

Will see how my run goes later.


oooh...and yes I have had similar, but I've put it down to tension, and I try really hard to relax my shoulders when I'm running..and it started on my holiday when I was running on unerven get anything properly checked out as there could be a simple solution...especially if laptop related, you probably need a workplace ergonomic asessment...???


Back on terra more firma now so hopefully it will get better. We have massage classes at work so may volunteer if it persists or perhaps even if it doesn't.


Blimey you are lucky... I'd take anything offered if I were you...!!!!


I have a similar problem & it sometimes leads to really bad heads. Changed to just one pillow & use Radian B, not the spray on kind (that didn't work for me) the rub in one.


Hey waletta. No headaches yet so fingers crossed. Home from a long weekend break now so will see if being back in my own bed improves things. Have also skipped this evenings run as a precaution :-(


Hope your neck pain settles soon. I find that lots of things can trigger my neck pain - a different bed or pillow, swimming aggravates it, stress and tension definitely make my neck lock up, long hours at work or crazy though it sounds - bad hayfever and violent sneezing have put my neck out before. I go and see a McTimoney chiropractor and she works wonders with it, but if you have the option of massage at work that sounds great. Also anti-inflammatories help to prevent you holding your neck awkwardly which has a knock on effect on other areas of your back. Hope it eases and that you're back to your running soon.


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