Stiff, sore neck from BJJ? Pinched nerves, back and shoulder pain? Nerve pain? it comes to us all when we have trained for any length of time but despite what you think could be the cause of your pain there could be a more simple explanation.
We all know the dangers we face when it comes to training BJJ, especially training BJJ over 40. The risk of injury is high whatever your age but when you’re over forty, those risks increase significantly. Merely warming up can cause us oldies pain, let alone drilling guard passing with somebody that little bit heavier and god forbid if we should have to roll over our necks or shoulders during training!
As somebody who has herniated two cervical discs and has arthritis and enthesitis (swelling of the tendons) I never know what is causing my neck pain, I also never know what is causing me to have numbness in my hands, pins and needles in my elbows and sickening nerve pain down the length of my left arm. My instinct tells me that it is the result of the disc herniations but my last MRI scan told a different story; the discs (c5/c6 and c6/c7) had all but gone back to normal and are no longer compressing the nerve. My neurosurgeon told me that the pain is being caused by nerve irritation, rather than impingement. That’s good new I guess, although the nerve irritation is still excruciatingly painful at times and causes the rest of my neck and shoulders to contract and be in a constant state of tension.
Whilst I was discussing my neck problems with a colleague at the gym recently, one of our members, Christoph overheard the conversation and suggested that the cause of my pain may not be from the herniated discs or my autoimmune diseases but could well be being caused by bad posture and tension in my neck. Now I know that I have bad posture, even whilst typing this blog post I am sitting in poor posture but I have never considered that the pain I experience could be a direct result of that, sure I mean I know that it can’t be helping and I do try to correct my posture when I remember, but could it be the cause of my symptoms?
Christoph is a yoga instructor and somebody who is very much into self healing and well being. As somebody who is passionate about yoga and self help, I was interested and intrigued to listen to Christoph tell me all about the Scalene muscle group and how tension in this area can cause all manner of problems, from neck pain, headaches, nerve pain, numbness, in fact just about every symptom that I am experiencing.
The scalene muscles are a group of three pairs of muscles in the lateral neck, namely the anterior scalene, middle scalene, and posterior scalene. They are innervated by the fourth, fifth, and sixth cervical spinal nerves (C4-C6). Self massage of these muscles can help loosen the the neck, release the tension and relieve many of the symptoms above.
To demonstrate Christoph gently massaged the posterior scalene muscle in my neck and I cannot tell you how painful it felt. I thought he was squeezing with all of his strength but when he demonstrated on my arm just how little pressure he was using, I was shocked. Christoph then moved the posterior muscle aside with his finger and thumb and gently applied pressure to a trigger point on the medius muscle, this instantly caused my left arm to start going numb and I felt the exact same nerve pain that I experience in general. This was a real eye opener for me and has given me a lot to think about.
I have been using the self massage tips for a few weeks now and in all honesty, I have found that a lot of the tension and subsequent pain in my neck has eased somewhat.
Although I cannot guarantee that any pains you guys may be experiencing in your neck, shoulders, back, head, arms and hands is being caused by tension I can guarantee that many of your symptoms will be lessened if you use some of the techniques in the following book.
The techniques that Christoph used on me came from a book he recommended called The Trigger Point therapy Workbook a book to me that I am recommending to you guys here. I will receive a small incentive from Amazon should you buy the book through my links below which will help to keep the site up and running, so if you do find the topic of interest and think it may be of some use, please use my links below to buy this great book.
Book Description from Amazon
“Trigger point therapy is one of the fastest-growing and most effective pain therapies in the world. Medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists are all beginning to use this technique to relieve patients’ formerly undiagnosable muscle and joint pain, both conditions that studies have shown to be the cause of nearly 25 percent of all doctor visits.
This book addresses the problem of myofascial trigger points-tiny contraction knots that develop in a muscle when it is injured or overworked. Restricted circulation and lack of oxygen in these points cause referred pain. Massage of the trigger is the safest, most natural, and most effective form of pain therapy. Trigger points create pain throughout the body in predictable patterns characteristic to each muscle, producing discomfort ranging from mild to severe. Trigger point massage increases circulation and oxygenation in the area and often produces instant relief.”