Unfortunately, not a day goes by without an athlete making headlines due to a neck injury. Whether it’s the Colt’s Peyton Manning, the Eagle’s Michael Vick, the Twin’s Joe Mauer, the PGA’ s Steve Stricker, or the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez – sports seem to be unequivocally…a pain in the neck.
Statistics are as high as to say that 2/3 of all adults will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives – and if you are an athlete, the likelihood of injury increases.
When you consider an injury that can be caused by something as minor as sending too many text messages, yes, it makes sense that guys who play 160 ball games a year, or have 350-lb linemen slamming into them on a weekly basis might end up with some neck pain. In the wake of the NFL lockout, the injury risk to players was heavily discussed, especially the surge of brain and neck-related injuries.
The neck is an extremely vulnerable part of the body. Because the head, neck and spine are so closely connected, damage to one part often leads to pain in other parts. When a neck injury occurs, it is not uncommon for the patient to be simultaneously suffering from multiple injuries.
Perhaps the problem is that athletes aren’t taking initial neck injuries seriously enough. Whereas no athlete would even consider playing with a torn ACL or a broken bone, the inclination to play through a seemingly minor neck injury is much greater. The danger of this, however, is that a minor neck injury affects other parts of the spine and nervous system and before you know it, the athlete is sidelined with a serious neck injury.
What many might learn the hard way is that it is important to take ALL neck pains seriously. Whether it’s stretching, icing, or just plain old-fashioned rest, heed your doctor’s advice. And while you are resting, make sure your head, neck and spine are in a normal, healthy position by using a waterbase pillow that will adjust to your movements and keep your head (and your neck) in the game.