By Dr. Gunter Sgarboza *
Who never resisted that tight choke and then got a sore neck? This type of discomfort is called “cervicalgia” by orthopedists. It is one of the most recurring pains among practitioners of the gentle art.
Of course, neck pain can be associated with many causes other than a specific situation in BJJ training. People’s lifestyle, for example, from the positioning of the neck when using cell phones and computers, all the way to improper bedtime posture. Even daily stress is one of the factors that help promote neck pain.
But there are traumas of great danger. A headache, for example, can cause severe neck pain and injury. We are talking about a very important and fundamental region for the communication of the head with the rest of the body, containing many vital points. If these points are gravely affected, there is a high risk of causing the patient’s death or disability. That is why it is very important that the BJJ practitioner have the good sense to assess whether the pain in his neck is trivial or is in fact a warning that it is necessary to be very careful and seek the help of a doctor with urgency.
How to know whether it is serious?
Well, if the pain is severe and of rapid onset, spreading to the arms, better to see a doctor quickly: it could be the famous herniated disc. Now, if the person has had a trauma and does not feel the arms or the body, better not even move. An emergency service must be activated; there may have been a fracture in the bones of the neck, and this is very serious; my advice is not to touch the injured person. At most, put them in a fixed position on the floor and wait for someone experienced, who knows how to put on a cervical collar to immobilize the neck. Only then should the patient be taken to a clinic to undergo examinations. On the other hand, if the pain is small and begins slowly, usually after training, or after a good kneading in training, it is probably just a muscle contraction, and usually a hot water compress, a painkiller and some rest will solve the problem. If the pain does not go away in a day or two, better see an orthopedist.
It is done through local stretching and strengthening, it can be done with circular movements, elastic bands or the famous bridge to warm up your workouts. Yoga and Pilates exercises are welcome. Regarding treatment, physiotherapy and acupuncture are excellent, especially for long-standing chronic pain.
Well, these are some basic guidelines on the issue of pain in the cervical region. Obviously, as your BJJ training progresses, you will develop body awareness, refining technique and the ability to control your fights. So you tend to avoid injuries more and more, not only related to the cervical but injuries in general. In the case of beginners, the role of the professor is very important, closely monitoring the training of white-belts so that they do not put themselves in risky situations.
If you have questions about neck pain, contact me on Instagram @doutoresportista or on my website, doutoresportista.com.br. It will be a pleasure to help. Oss!
* Gunter Sgarboza is an orthopedist and specialist in knee surgery and sports traumatology. A black-belt professor since 2008, champion of the 2011 Rio Master & Senior Championship, and runner-up at the 2008 Los Angeles Pan in the absolute.