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  1. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 3:15am

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    Running and Upper-Body Pain

    Since my daughter was born (13/12/08), I've had a little more free time, and I've been jogging regularly. (It sounds odd, perhaps - but it's true.)

    Now, I have a neck injury, which means I should be careful. For four months I've been running slowly and carefully - stretching beforehand, running on grass where possible, and trying not to impact too jarringly. I also have a pair of Asics running shoes, bought less than six months ago. Today I ran on a polyurethane track, which was novel.

    All was well until a fortnight or so ago, when I woke up with cramp-like tightness in my back and neck - particularly the trapezius.

    The doctor assured me it wasn't my protruded disc, which was very good news.

    But I'm worried it might be jogging. I also swam, gardened, picked up my son badly, and lightly sparred. But let's just focus on the running.

    When I used to run with my wife, I also got upper body pain: above my pectoral muscles. and in my lower back. And, now, I'm getting similar pain, plus the tightness/soreness in my trapezius.

    So, here is the question: Does anyone have any idea what I might be doing wrong? Put another way, has anyone else experienced this running and upper-body pain, and did they sort it out?

    (Before you say it, I am seeing a specialist in a week or so. But I thought I'd also ask the Bullshido fitness brains trust.)
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  2. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 3:16pm

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    I see.

    Right, right...

    I should add: I'm stretching my upper body, too.

    Can this be a problem of running style? New shoes needed? Referred 3/4 pain serving the trapezius muscles?
    Last edited by DAYoung; 3/20/2009 3:25pm at .
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  3. theotherserge is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 5:38pm

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    running posture, how you're using your arms, hanging your head/straining your neck etc

    It can be hard to diagnose but if you already have a back issue, you might want to be very careful about your stretching; you can over do it with stretches pre-exercise. Your muscles are "cold" but you're stretching your tendons in most postures and you can take away the elastic effect you get from tendons and fascia.

    Its good to have range of motion, but your tendons are also there to limit that range of motion and also to keep up an elastic or pulley-like effect. It is also crucial to not stretch your ligaments which are bone-bone connections, once stretched, they do not release and the joint can be compromised.

    Alot of the current thought I've seen/been exposed to is you imitate the motion you're going to do for your exercise, so for jogging: move your legs and arms in the range of motion you will use. But don't do anymore. Some members of a college running team came to train with us (crossfit) and I was surprised at how inflexible they were. They were working with this same training philosophy...
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  4. dumblucky is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 5:48pm

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    Hard to say -

    I know you want to keep focused on the running but I'm not sure that's a good idea. Sounds like you're pretty active right now.

    But I've seen runners develop shoulder problems because of the way they carry their upper body, but those problems don't usually involve the trap. And it's usually cause by pretty extreme running styles. Do you have any video of your running?

    Or all that stretching could be exposing an existing weakness/structural imbalance (caused by an old injury?) that the running is aggravating. But that's just internet speculation.

    I'd give running a couple days off and see if it gets better.
  5. Cassius is online now
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 6:06pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by theotherserge View Post
    running posture, how you're using your arms, hanging your head/straining your neck etc
    My guess would be posture and what you are doing with your arms. How do you hold your upper body when you run? What are your ribs doing? Are your arms loose or tight? More importantly, are they comfortable as you run?

    Also, what are the distances we are talking about here?
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  6. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 7:23pm

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    Thanks, everyone (and by 'everyone', I clearly mean 'all three of you').

    I'll ask my wife to take a short video of me running.

    In the mean time, Cassius: I'm running 2-3 miles, sometimes with sprints halfway. It's not far, and I mean to run for longer. But I'm just getting started, and don't want to rush anything. or overdo it.

    As I've said here, I've a tendency toward foolhardiness. I don't want to push it.
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  7. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/20/2009 7:28pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by dumblucky View Post
    Or all that stretching could be exposing an existing weakness/structural imbalance (caused by an old injury?) that the running is aggravating. But that's just internet speculation.

    I'd give running a couple days off and see if it gets better.
    It certainly could be an imbalance - I might've held myself strangely for a while.

    As for time off, I've skipped running for a fortnight. It did get better, eventually. (In an inverse proportion to my feelings of wellbeing.) I ran briefly on the polyurethane track yesterday, and I've trapezius stiffness today.

    Blargh.

    I'll get a video soon.
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  8. BadUglyMagic is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/21/2009 12:37am


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    Do you think about stressfull "things" when you run. In addition to possible overstretching and poor posture it may be you are unconsciously tensing your shoulders during your run. If you have a neck injury you may more susceptible to this trap pain, possibly a result of your body attempting to stabilize the neck.
  9. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/21/2009 1:07am

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    I do get very stiff when angry or anxious. But when I run, I'm usually very calm.

    Murakami talks about this in his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: thoughts just floating by, disappearing, like aloof ghosts. It's a very relaxed, relaxing thing to me.
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  10. theotherserge is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/21/2009 1:17am

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAYoung View Post

    As for time off, I've skipped running for a fortnight.
    a "fortnight"?

    you goddamned pommie-wallabie-bastards!

    swimming is especially good for the traps and the whole cervical-medial-lumbar muscle chain

    I have a semi-recurring back issue and the best curative is a nice swim. Running seems to trigger my back and abdominal irritants.
    Many things we do naturally become difficult only when we try to make them intellectual subjects. It is possible to know so much about a subject that you become totally ignorant.
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