Don’t panic. The accident was in May and I was rear ended and pushed into the car in front of me. As E likes to say, I was “ping-ponged” between the two cars, so as you might imagine, my neck isn’t exactly in tip-top shape anymore. The muscle stiffness I felt in the coming weeks after the accident was mild and only slightly affected my running, especially since I was taking some time off after the Cleveland Half Marathon anyways. But as time has gone on, I’ve noticed that my neck is really catching the brunt of the whiplash after effects.
Following the accident, I completed a regimen with a physical therapist and have been prescribed a handful of stretches to do in order to keep my neck muscles loosened, strengthened, and to alleviate some discomfort I’m feeling, whether it’s from working at a computer all day or running and working out.
Now that I’m training for another half marathon in November, these stretches and the overall health of my neck muscles have become so much more important and I’ve had to learn discipline when it comes to taking the time to actually do my prescribed exercises and make sure I’m doing everything I can in order to prevent any more pain. I’ve been known to ignore stretching in a regular workout routine, but now I’m realizing that necks are sensitive and super important, even in running.
Obviously I’m not a doctor, but if you’re experiencing any sort of neck discomfort or just have a spare few minutes, I’d recommend trying some of these stretches and exercises. Even if they aren’t meant to alleviate pain for you personally, they feel great and might even help some neck and shoulder stiffness that comes with running.