I would like to ask you a question before getting into neck injury prevention for hikers.
Is your neck raw after a hike?
Mine normally is. And that bugs me.
I strive to do everything right while hiking on the subject of neck injury prevention, and I Will share my strategy in a moment.
But first, I believe it is worthwhile to contemplate the construction of that fine, highly mobile, but powerful link between your torso and your skull in an effort to comprehend why a hiking and a sore neck might go together.
A raw neck in the lack of injury (being hit by a falling branch, falling and hitting your head, getting a blow on the spine, etc.) isn’t something to dismiss.
Neck injury prevention for hikers:
It is about muscles and bones
A giraffe and you have the same amount of bones in the neck.
Wild, is not it?
The neck bones (cervical vertebrae) are 7 small (compared with further down the spinal column) attractiveness piled one atop the next.
They may be able to swivel and bend because they can be stacked.
The tower of bones does not fall apart, because their joints are supported by soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia).
Additionally, these bones are requested to carry weight: they hold up your head with its large, notable brain.
This is no small job! Your head weighs several pounds (more if you are taking a calculus or astrophysics group).
You need muscles to marshal the neck.
A couple straplike muscles named for where they attach to bones:
Whew! Large long names that show the fact the muscle fibers run between the torso and the skull.
In addition, you need a few muscles that are bigger.
Examine it out right
Bring your right ear toward your right shoulder, and sense the strap like muscle running between shoulder and ear.
See what I mean? That was your sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle doing what is called “lateral flexion”.
And only one more interesting name: your trapezius (a large trapezoid shape) attaches your head to your shoulders (among other things).
I’d say that is also a powerful significant muscle to keep pain free, would not you?
And do not forget position in our neck injury prevention for hikers!
Which brings us to an evaluation (it’ll be short and rated on a curve, I swear) of your position as a hiker.
It is likely not a custom (yet) to assess the location of your jaw in relation to your shoulders, but it is a quick method to see if you hold your head in a bowed or forwards posture relative to your body.
Another thing to check: Are you by any chance holding your shoulders high or in a hunched posture?
Should youn’t need to assess your own neck posture, at least attempt this:
On your next hike, make it a point to notice oncoming hikers on the trail.
Do any of them have forward leaning position, with jaw leading or their head?
Should you do this long enough, you will end up itching to discontinue them to share these neck injury prevention for hikers suggestions that I am about to share (tell ’em it is a bit of tough love from Hiking For Her!).
So what is my purpose here?
Actually, I ‘ve two points, in the interest of neck injury prevention:
First, chilly muscles at the start of a hike are an excellent means to endure a neck injury.
I have a tendency to hunch my shoulders when I am chilly and hold my neck. I make an effort to pay attention to these bad habits, but occasionally I am a few miles into late autumn hike or a snowshoe excursion before I understand what a pain in the neck I am creating for myself.
So please tune into the number of tension in your neck, and breathe to let it go.
Lightly swivel your neck, bring your chin to your chest and point up to the skies several times before you put in your pack.
Breathe in slow long breaths, from your abdomen.
Hint: I have found that keeping my neck warm with a fleece wrap around scarf helps prevent muscle tension.
This, consequently, guides in neck injury prevention.
My second stage: osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” kind, not the inflammatory rheumatoid kind) shows up in neck joints in most women sooner or later.
Here’s where the appropriate pack, with straps that are correctly adjusted, is significant.
If your back pack is tugging throughout your hike in your neck, pulling the bones out of normal alignment, you are going to aggravate.
Take the time to discover a great fitting pack, and be diligent about fixing the straps each time the season turns (more or less clothes, taking more or less equipment, means the pack will fit otherwise).
Read my suggestions for hiking with osteoarthritis.
Best guidance for neck injury prevention for hikers
Neck injury prevention for hikers additionally contains preventing trail risks.
Because it’ll jar your neck do not step suddenly into holes. Let another person go on the trail and see their feet!
Pay close attention when descending steep inclines or crossing talus slopes. Examine the stone for uncertainty or tipsiness with your body weight; you do not need your feet taken out from beneath you with a side effect of whiplash.
Be searching for deep holes that will cause you to grope for the underside while craning your neck when crossing streams.
Use your trekking poles to create equilibrium on catchy ground, and to probe forward on irregular terrain, inquire heaps of irregular sized stone.
If you are on an extended hike, swing your head from side to side sometimes, alleviating tension on neck muscles and bringing more blood to the region. Making these little self attention rites a part of your hiking routine goes quite a distance toward neck injury prevention for hikers.
And please! Prevent my bad habit: throwing against outside my jaw in front, attempting to catch glimpses of what is ahead on the trail.
I Be sure to bring your fingers to your neck muscles, when you take a rest break and knead lightly.
Create a neck roll or pillow with additional clothes, if you are sleeping on the earth during a backpacking trip.
Use a sleeping pad that is good, also. By supporting your back, you help pull on your neck into right alignment.
Yet another suggestion: Consider fixing your hiking speed. Back away if you are going quickly, or strive for a more consistent speed your neck can “settle into” without stress.
In a nutshell, infant your neck BEFORE it begins to damage. This is particularly true for women over 40 years of age.
Already experiencing neck pain while hiking?
If you have already experienced neck pain neck injury prevention for hikers becomes higher on your list.
Have you tried an over the counter gel or ointment preparation for pain relief?
Mineral Ice is my personal favorite because it creates immediate relief from inflammation, but its strong smell doesn’t advocate it for use in bear country.
I love the cooling sense it supplies to my hot regions that are inflamed.
One word of warning: Do not rub your eyes until you have washed this merchandise off your hands or place your fingers in your mouth.
Have a look at it here:
Mineral Ice Pain Relieving Gel, 3.5 oz
Another strategy, in conjunction with Mineral Ice, is to hunt for spasms and your cause points with your fingers.
Put the level parts of your fingertips on the back of your neck.
Lightly press into the muscles, working your way to the front of your neck.
Notice the areas where outright pain or soreness happen. Those are the places you need to linger on, lightly knead and press.
Do not be scared to use a lot of pressure on neck muscles, but be conscious that you’ve blood vessels and nerves there as well. If you sense a “buzzy” sense or start to feel light headed, that is enough neck work for now.
Neck injury prevention for hikers:
By becoming aware of these things shield your neck while hiking:
Your position (hunched over, poor; erect and neck not craning forward, great).
Your backpack’s fit.
Your hiking speed.
Your neck’s comments: soreness, tightness, spasms, tingling.
It is a great investment in your hiking future to pay attention to your neck!
Start to make some of these recommended alterations, and wish good bye as a hiker to neck pain.