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#32173 - 07/13/13 09:25 AM Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s)
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Got a training physiology question here:
I have been training for my JMT solo, and have now hit that point where I know I can do ten MPD and 2000+ ft gain day in and out. Easily carrying my max pack weight (35 lbs) on my training hikes (3-6 miles at 2-3 mph) and adding weight every day. The only piece that does not seem to be keeping pace with improvement everywhere else is posterior neck muscles. Fatigue and strain there is now the limiting factor in my training. For you versed in anatomy, seems to be in the area of the upper trapezius (superior third at or near occipital origin) but could be deeper, levator scapulae or splenius capitis) It is not relieved by shifting weight to the belt, or by taking weight on the hand or arms . Relieved only by dropping the pack, then subsides after a minute or two.

Any body with experience or expertise in getting the pain-in-the-neck muscles in shape, I sure would appreciate the help

Thanks
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#32174 - 07/13/13 11:24 AM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: saltydog]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 200
Loc: San Diego
Does your pack have a rigid frame and are you using tension on a sternum strap? That's the combination I use to get pressure of a heavy pack off of my neck and shoulders. Otherwise, you can't really transfer all the weight off of the top of the shoulders.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#32175 - 07/13/13 01:38 PM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: dbd]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 979
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Peter
here are some thoughts, some read, some advised, some personal.

I agree that sternum strap is very helpful. Exact tightness is hard to predict, but experiment.

The shoulder straps really should not take that much weight. One should be able to release them, and have the pack supported by only the waist belt. The shoulder straps just keep things from swaying side to side or back to back. ( An exception might be when your pack is too heavy, or ill-fitted) . There should be daylight between the top of your shoulder and the inner curve of your shoulder strap as it goes over your shoulder. The strap may rub and redden your collarbones as it pulls backwards, but not the top of your shoulder.

Have you tried tightening/loosening the small straps that go between the shoulder straps and the top of your pack? Experiment.

Have you tried external frame pack ( more upright posture) versus internal frame ( more hunched forward) ?

Have you tried varying weight distribution inside the pack? Sometimes the denser bear can weight in the bottom versus the top makes a huge difference in center of gravity, or even leverage on the shoulders fore and aft. Sometimes, the right packing for comfort ends up being counter-intuitive.

Finally - do what I do...relax the trapezius while walking. How? One can do it simply by just altering position. Walk a few minutes with your hands straight up in the air. Yes, it takes muscles, but it breaks up the isotonic tension of at least some of the muscle groups.

Ultimate solution for me: all of the above... AND... walking like a crucifix. I place my walking pole (or usually longer single staff) across the top of my shoulders and across the back of my neck. Then walk with both arms wrapped over the poles. Looks goofy - my companions know it is me from afar. Do it for a minute or two at a time and intermittently whenever you feels tightened up. Again, it just allows use or relaxation of a different muscle groups.

PM sent

Harvey

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#32176 - 07/13/13 03:46 PM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks guys

Yep got all the adjustments right. Frame is as rigid as it gets: 1973 Kelty Serac, with a 2005 or so Tioga harness custom fitted: sternum strap, load lifters, Kelty super padded belt etc.

The problem is not how to get load off the trap muscle. I can do that. But I am deliberately working the shoulder girdle so I have it when I need it: Periodc relief of the hips (for circulation), crossings, etc. Just surprised how slow it is to respond to workouts, and wondering if anyone has tips not on protecting it, but on conditioning it.

I love the crucifix walk, though. I think I'll use that and see if I get any requests for free medical advice.
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#32279 - 07/20/13 01:32 PM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: saltydog]
John P. Offline


Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 52
Loc: Palmdale
Sore neck muscles most likely indicate too much flexion and/or extension in the cervical spinal column (neck) during load carrying or repetitive movements. Looking down at your feet during hiking or staring too far down or up the trail both place your neck in a position that is not natural and will more often than not lead to neck pain or worse. I've had neck pain due to my tendency to stare down at my feet while hiking, running, or walking (excessive extension). Every time I went on a long hike my neck was sore the next day. After realizing what I was doing wrong I decided to re-train myself to look several feet in front of me and use my peripheral vision to mind my footwork. Only if the footing got tricky did I look down. Hope this helps.
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#32286 - 07/21/13 06:43 AM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: John P.]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks for the added info. That hadn't occurred to me but I do look up and around a lot. Especially since what I am training for is my JMT solo, I have almost no hope of keeping my eyes in the right spot on the trail, unless I am going to stop every 50 feet or so to take it all in. So I am still trying to get those muscles in shape. I'll let you know how it turns out


Edited by saltydog (07/21/13 06:45 AM)
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#32295 - 07/21/13 03:57 PM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: saltydog]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 768
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
I had the same problem with an older Karrimor pack, because as I aged my spine got a little shorter; I couldn't adjust the shoulder straps so that the upper part of the pack fit snugly against my upper back. There was too much stress on my neck from craning forward.

A new Osprey pack with professional fitting solved the problem. Now I can walk upright comfortably with no neck strain.

Maybe you ought to consider getting a modern, internal frame pack.

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#32296 - 07/21/13 06:33 PM Re: Training question: pain-in-the-neck muscle(s) [Re: Bob West]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks: The frame may be old, but its about the same geometry as the most recent ones, and I have the latest harness on it> Load lifters put it very high and close on my back, and I strain forward much less that with either of my internals, a very good Gregory and a Kelty military model, both of which fit beautifully but are narrower and deeper than the Serac.
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