Most Common Muscle Injuries (Part 2 of 7)
By: Marylin Salgado
April 7, 2019
This is part 2 of a 7-part series blog. The focus will be injuries based on the 4 most popular weight lifting exercises:
- Bench Press
- Dead Lifts
- Military Press
Each blog will explain the part of the body affected, how each lift affects that muscle group and recovery time. Each blog will be written in its simplest form so you, the reader, can fully understand the material. This week I will be discussing injury caused to the Cervical Spine and Neck.
What is the structure and function of the cervical spine and neck?
The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae, (or small bones that form the backbone), support the skull, move the spine and protect the spinal cord. – healthline. Connective tissue called ligaments also help protect the spinal cords from further damage.
Why do injuries occur?
- Improper technique
- Not enough training time
- Not stretching before an exercise
- Ignoring pain or discomfort during a movement or lift
- Not stopping immediately during discomfort or feeling sharp pain
- Carelessness, horseplay, or accidents
Most common lifts and cervical spine injury
- Squats – Wrong placement of a bar on your upper back or neck can cause injury, bruising, or damage the spinal cord if the weight is too heavy. You can cause further injury if you force a movement against a heavy weight or a bar that is not placed correctly on your back. Ideally, no bar or weight should ever be placed directly on your neck. While squatting, leaning forward or backwards during a movement can cause neck injury, as well. It is advisable to practice technique with a low weight and then advance once you have mastered the technique and feel balanced and comfortable with your movement.
- Bench press – This lift requires use of chest, shoulder and lower neck muscles. Inadequate movement or a heavy weight can cause neck pain and injury.
The following case study is an excerpt from the Journal of Spine:
This case occurred while a patient with a history of cervical disc herniation was bench pressing 90 kg in supine position. Why did the disc herniation produce acute cervical SCI? Bench press exercise mainly strengthens the pectoral major muscle, shoulder muscles, biceps and triceps muscle; it involves no strong neck extension or flexion motion. One may not expect significant cervical muscle activity or injury to the cervical spine. We examined the superficial electromyography of the circumferential muscles of the neck during bench press exercise.
Case Report Open Access
Spinal Cord Injury due to Cervical Disc Herniation Caused by Bench Pressing
|Futoshi Suetsuna1,2*, Yoshihiko Okudera1, Toshihiro Tanaka1 and Takuya Tamura2|
|1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hachinohe Municipal Hospital, Japan|
|2Department of Rehabilitation, Hachinohe Municipal Hospital, Hachinohe, Japan
Recovering from injury
Symptoms of cervical spine and neck injury include neck pain and stiffness, weakness or numbness running down your shoulder, arm and hand. In severe cases you might also experience muscle spasms. Heat might help. Others prefer icing the area. Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin might help. If the injury is severe enough, the individual might need a neck brace to immobilize the neck and physical therapy.
In conclusion, a cervical spine injury can be one of the most dangerous injuries any individual could suffer. Any of the C – spine fractures can leave someone as a quadriplegic or paraplegic. Both are devastating and take a lifetime of dependent care and medications. If you feel you have suffered a cervical spine injury or strain, please seek medical attention right away. Stop working out or you might make the injury worse.
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