Common Treadmill Woe: Is it a pain in the neck?

Submitted by Kashif on August 17, 2012

Walking or running on the treadmill is a comfortable alternative to jogging, walking or walking outdoors as it is in a controlled environment and a great form of cardio. However, sometimes it can come with a few unpleasant effects. Neck pain caused when on a treadmill could be due to many reasons. Most experts state that neck pain could be due to poor sleep patterns, bad carrying habits, and improper work posture.

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This pain then starts becoming more apparent during certain physical activities.

A few things can be done though to avoid neck pain when using the treadmill:

  • Always warm up - your muscles need to get a heads-up that they are going to be used for vigorous activity, which is why it is good to stretch and relax them before you start your workout. These warm-up stretches will increase blood circulation in the area and make sure your muscles are warm and supple.


    Speak to your physical trainer and let him/her know of any neck or spinal ailments you suffer from. Accordingly, warm-up stretches will be recommended. It is also a good idea to consult a doctor before you start any exercises, if you are already suffering from any persistent neck pain.
  • Focus on treadmill technique - proper running on the treadmill is very important. When walking on it, you need to get a rhythm going to prevent you from falling or stumbling off. Gripping the treadmills handrails can cause tension especially in the neck region so try and avoid holding on to them as much as possible. Instead keep your hands to your sides and keep your head over the spine area. Relax and breathe steadily.
  • Keep a check on your posture - your body should be upright at all times, with your head directly over the spine. Try to avoid holding your chin over the chest area, as that makes your shoulders hunch, eventually straining the muscles in the back and neck. Speak to your trainer to check for any postural or bio-mechanical problems. If you start running on the treadmill for the first time or after a long time, some pain is expected for one or two days before the body gets used to you working out. Also sometimes turning around to make conversation a few too many times could also be a strain on the neck. If the pain continues to persist in spite of these precautions, you should consult a doctor.
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