Upper Body Pain from Running: How Can You Prevent It?

Upper Body Pain

Upper Body PainWhile it’s common among runners to experience leg or foot pain, some also experience upper body discomfort, especially on the neck and shoulders. If this is the same for you, you should know that the main cause for this is poor form or posture. You could be slouching, rounding your shoulders forward, projecting your head outward, or hunching your shoulders towards your ears.

You might not be fully aware of these movements while running, but you should know that they can add unnecessary pressure on your upper body. They can trigger a stiff neck, sore muscles, muscle spasms, and rotator cuff injuries. Thoracic outlet syndrome is also likely, which can cause numbness in the fingers and pain in the neck and shoulders.

Here’s how you can prevent neck and shoulder pain from running:

Release some tension and check your shoulders.

Before, during, and after running, loosen up by shaking out your arms and dropping your shoulders. Orthopedic doctors from Michael J. Carlson, MD in Provo, Utah suggest checking the position of your shoulders to make sure that they’re relaxed. Your ears should also be over the middle of your shoulder when running.

Strengthen your core.

Making your other muscles in proper working order can help you run better. This is why apart from logging miles, you should also engage in core workout routines. Be sure to include abdominal exercises and daily strength training. This can support your upper body as you run, while also strengthening your core.

Maintain proper running form.

This means keeping your back straight (but not over tensed or too tight), leaning your body slightly forward, keeping arms at your sides (you can freely pump them), and putting your weight on the balls of your feet.

Don’t forget to stretch.

After running, stretch not just your legs but your upper body as well. You can do this by rolling your shoulder and tilting your head gently (side to side and up and down).

If you frequently experience upper body pain, these suggestions could help. You should also consult an orthopedic doctor or a sport medicine physician for other tips on preventing neck and shoulder pain while running.