Climbers Neck

Climbers Neck, Landing When Bouldering, 

In practice, we see hundreds of these new sub-conditions called text neck. Text neck is where the neck changes shape because of a repetitive strain of looking at phones! But today I saw a climber whos neck had misshaped so dramatically. I was sure it was a whiplash type incident.

In fact, it turned out she had no history of car accidents or and "memorable" falls - so where had this trauma come from?


Upon talking to her further, we discovered that the method of this injury was indeed a whiplash. However, there was no car involved but rather a constant whipping of the neck during crash mat landing. 

This landing event I am told is a bi-weekly event for most climbers (boulders).

This injury is unusual, and it demonstrates new-age stresses to necks. These often repetitive stresses can build into something nasty. While text neck is less stressful, it is repeated daily! 

The crash mat landing is more stressful than just looking down. However,  this bi-weekly event may lead to the same presentation as text neck by generating similar trauma.

CrashMat rules:

I thought I would share some thoughts on crash mat technique for any boulderers that want to guard against these neck injuries. The sad fact is the walls that these particular climber uses do have instructors that pay specific focus on this type of injury. Unfortunately, like most sports or class events this safety is typically summarised in one sentence or saying.
Examples: 

  • pilates - "prepare your core."
  • climbing - "roll with it."

Unfortunately, many people that haven't been trained in this lingo regularly: 'nod and acknowledge.' But don't know the intricacies of the movement they need to perform. 

So let us help with your landing: 

Firstly In most cases, you will land on your back. You land here because you're not a cat, and if you fall on your head, you're screwed! Some people may argue, you could land shoulder first or bottom first. However, with each of these scenarios, the neck will follow, and so the following advice is still relevant.

To help I have developed two neck rules for a good landing:

  1. Be confident that the crash mat will pad it - relax and remember this
  2. Be unconfident in your ability to keep your neck from hitting the mat - even if it is possible it's going to cause an injury - end of story!

If your interested in seeking a consult with a statutorily regulated neck treatment professional that knows about Climbing injuries, contact Wimbledon Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinics information - CLICK HERE.


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