General Discussion Triathlon Talk » shoulder and neck soreness after swimming Rss Feed  
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2022-02-24 9:03 AM


Subject: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
I've just started training for my first triathlon this year, and have been doing some light workouts in the pool for about a month now. I was on the swim team in high school, but I haven't done any lap swimming since (about 10 years), so I'm definitely taking things slow and working on making sure my form is good before I up the intensity. My main issue has been that, despite feeling fine/great when getting out of the pool, as I get further into my work day, I notice my back between my shoulders and my neck feeling sore or stiff, and this eventually leads to a headache (I'm one of those people where sore neck = headache). Since this has started, I've tried paying special attention to my alignment and breathing, applying hot or cold to my shoulders after my swim, and making sure to stretch my neck and shoulders during and after my workout. Nothing seems to get rid of this problem altogether, although it might be getting a little better since my headache doesn't come until towards the end of the day now rather than before lunch. My next thought was to try strengthening those muscles on my non-swimming days, but if that doesn't work I'm really not sure what else to try and I can't keep this up if two days a week my workday is a bust because of a headache. Oh, and apparently pain killers don't work when it comes to neck-related headaches for me.

Has anyone had a similar problem, and how did you fix it? Or any other thoughts?

2022-02-24 9:22 AM
in reply to: KCroteau91

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over a barrier
Subject: RE: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
A few things to try:

Prehab/Post swim: This should help with mobility. I have found that improved mobility let the muscles work as intended and when the range of motion is changed/limited that is when chronic issue pop up.

Unsticking the scapula:

John Travolta's

Scapular pushups

If you have a pull up bar add in Scapular pulls ups as well. And just hang for 20-30 secs a time too

This will help with the shoulder mobility but you really need to figure out WHY you're getting tight in the upper traps. For me, my recovery on my right side was the issue. I was creating a lot of torque on the shoulder and all the muscles were getting extremely tight to the point I had trouble lifting my arms above my head. Upper/Mid Traps, Terras Minor etc.... I also developed a knot right near my neck.

Hope that helps....
2022-03-14 6:53 AM
in reply to: KCroteau91


Subject: RE: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
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2022-03-15 5:01 AM
in reply to: running2far


Subject: RE: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
Nice Content
2022-04-06 8:58 PM
in reply to: ejon28486

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Mszana Dolna, Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Subject: RE: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
2022-04-17 9:48 PM
in reply to: KCroteau91

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Stairway to Seven
Subject: RE: shoulder and neck soreness after swimming
Hey! Something made me check this website tonight...I was a regular user in the way back machine!

Anyway my story was a LOT like yours. Former swim team member, took 15 years off, started back again after having back surgery and swim #1, my neck and low back hurt. I was upset b/c I'd just had back surgery that should have elimiated the pain.

Turns out I was carrying a TON of tension in my neck while swimming. I learned as a kid that the waterline should hit your forehead, but that leads to tightness in the back of the neck & upper traps, right where you're having discomfort.

The solution was to learn how to relax in the water by letting my head "float" between my arms while swimming and not looking forward.

May be as simple as that...give it a try.

YOu can always post a video.

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