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Could Spinning Classes be causing my neck pain?


I recently joined a gym and attended one of the spinning classes which I enjoyed very much. Unfortunately, 2 days later I started getting pains in my neck, I have been told it might have been the spin class. I do suffer from arthritis and was wondering if maybe I should not do this particular exercise? I use a machine called the total body arc (cybex) which exercise all the muscles and go on the treadmill.

Any advice would be welcome.



Our expert says...

Hi Katz,

Unfortunately, the body position adopted in spinning classes can place stress on the muscles in the neck and if you have susceptibility in this area then it could exacerbate it.

For example, if someone has postural issues like rounded shoulders due to tight muscles as a result of lack of sleep, slouching or emotional stress, then the could be at risk of muscle spasm and neck pain following certain exercise.

From such aforementioned factors, the trapezius muscles, (big stabilising muscles in the neck area), are already overworked and subsequently very tight. Then with spinning, we can easily be hunched over the handle bars but with our head looking forwards towards the instructor; or where the bike set up may not be done properly for our biomechanics, these already tight muscles get tigher as they hold the head up and from the awkward positions we tend to adopt, especially as we get more and more fatigued throughout the class.

This does not mean you cannot do spin without aggravating your arthritic neck issue but you would need to try again when your neck had settled down and try to stay very aware of your posture, i.e. maintaining an ideal position with your shoulders back and down, your chest proud and your tummy muscles pulled in.

If you were able to do the class as advised and did not suffer with your neck after, then it would be realistic to say you would be able to do Spinning but not more then 1-2 times a week and ideally consider sports massage and postural awareness as general methods for reducing the likelihood of the muscles going into spasm and aggravating the arthritic changes in your neck vertebrae.

With arthritis, it is likely that at any given time an activity may cause a flare up, but may not necessarily need totally removal from your exercise plan. The most important thing to do is to make sure you do everything you can to reduce any additional stress or susceptibility in that area and this comes down to how you hold yourself on a daily basis. An ideal posture creates the best environment for the surrounding muscles of the neck to stay flexible and relaxed to the point where they protect the spine but do not cause compression to the vertebral discs.

Hope this helps


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