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Neck pain from swimming….really?

Neck pain from swimming….really?

This is a story of a love for the water, developing a swim practice, going way overboard, and having neck pain as a result that’s bad enough to wake up in the middle of the night. *sigh*

Well as you may be able to guess from the writing above, I love swimming, especially swimming freestyle. Professional swimmers would laugh at my paltry 1000m twice weekly swim, but I find it just difficult enough to pose a challenge and work on my aerobic fitness. I usually go with my mom, who likes to swim, perhaps not quite as much as me, but she tolerates it for me.

We do a few kick sets, to break things up and rest the arms and my mom likes to mix freestyle and breast stroke but me? Well, I love freestyle swimming and so I tend to just stick to that. That strategy has helped me get faster at freestyle, but I must have some stroke mechanics issues because I’ve developed some pretty intense neck pain for the last month, intense enough to wake me out of a dead sleep at 2am on most days, even if I take anti-inflammatories before bed.

So I’ve done a little googling, and believe that my neck pain is a result of my swim practice, or, more specifically, to how I breathe in swim practice. You see, I only breathe on one side, and I suspect that I may not be rotating enough when I do breathe to not place strain on my neck. So what do I do now? Well, I’m taking 10 days off from swimming while loading up on the advil to try and bring the inflammation down. After that? I think I’ll take my action camera to the pool and ask my mom to film me underwater for a few strokes so I can analyze my rotation and how I breathe – I can’t afford a swim coach, so self video and YouTube are going to be my friends here.

I think as well, that I would benefit from mixing in practice with some of the different strokes, breast or backstroke to break up the amount of freestyle I’m doing. I really love swimming so I hope these tactics work. 🙂

Hello from 10 days later and I’m sad to say that my neck pain has not gone away. Time to call in the big shots – aka the doc- and see what they have to say. For now, I’ll do some stretching and head back to the pool, but I’ll make sure I’m cut my distance for now.

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