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Sharp pain in neck when squatting


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I noticed when squatting tonight that I was having a very acute pain on my left side where the bar rests. It shot up into my head. I would start to experience dizziness, and could feel it pulsating in my head. Was I pinching an artery? This has happened before, but usually I can reposition the bar to avoid it. I always keep the bar as far back as possible. It wasn't resting on my neck.

Edited by threeloaves
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A quick pain shooting up somewhere else would probably be nervous, not circulatory.

 

I'm worried because your subject says "pain in neck" and then you describe the pain on your "left side where the bar rests." The bar should *not* be resting on or really even touching your neck. Should be almost entirely on your traps.

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A quick pain shooting up somewhere else would probably be nervous, not circulatory.

 

I'm worried because your subject says "pain in neck" and then you describe the pain on your "left side where the bar rests." The bar should *not* be resting on or really even touching your neck. Should be almost entirely on your traps.

I just edited that post to point that out. It's definitely on my traps. But, the pain runs up my neck to the top of my head.
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Its most likely a pinch nerve...I've got one in my neck too but it goes down to my hands when it gets pinched. Its not the most pleasant thing but I've been able to avoid it since I haven't been doing aggressive movements like I used to do....it hit me occasionally when I threw the shot put, doing Olympic lifts or on the rare occasion of just turning my head very quickly due to being startled.

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It may be all in your head- meaning the position of your head when you squat. I used to get a similar pain when squatting or doing bent-over rows 'cause I would look up too much instead of just looking straight and letting my head "float" so to speak. So, as Potter said, it would likely be a pinched nerve.

 

Mike

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Like Potter, I had problems with the pain running down my arm to my hand when I had the bar too high years ago. Maybe try to learn low-bar style for a bit and see if it helps - squeeze your shoulder blades together and make that 2nd tier shelf with your trapezius, set that sucker on there instead of the top of your traps. For me, it solved the problem completely.

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I thought this thread was about veganpotter until I saw the "squatting" part

 

LMAO! JW and Potter should be on a sitcom together. It would be hilarious.

 

Threeloaves, you might also try some Hise shrugs to help build up that shelf VeganEssentials was talking about.

 

Happy Squattin'

 

Mike

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Oh, the glory of Hise shrugs! Definitely, doing those both low-bar and slightly above WILL help build that shelf quite nicely. I'm one of those guys whose traps don't look all that impressive from the front (my shoulder girdle is VERY wide and I have long trapezius insertions to go with it), but from the back, you can always see that there's a perfect spot for the bar to rest right where I need it to.

 

Find the spot that the bar fits comfortably, have some good weight on it (start with what you'd squat for maybe 5-10 reps and the weight will jump quickly in time), and shrug upward with it. If you have it in low-bar position, you'll have to lean forward just a bit to keep it in place. If you want to see the area where you'll have it resting, this is it:

 

http://www.veganessentials.com/images/SquatBack.jpg

 

(Note: this was after doing not squatting for a while and then doing something like 15 sets of heavy doubles with a bar that had REALLY sharp knurling in the center!)

 

Notice that there's an arc to the "damage area" - it would show up with all the scratches and gouges in a straight line when the shoulder blades are pulled in tight, so from this, you can see how much different it can make for the shelf when you pull your scapula together.

 

Hope this helps!

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Oh yeah, before I forget -

 

If you're using one of those bar pads for squatting, GET RID OF THAT THING! Honestly, all they do is put the bar out of the groove so much that you can't keep in the ideal position unless you're putting something like 500+ lbs. on there. If you use a bar pad and have a higher placement, it WILL push the bar forward on to your neck more, which is bad news. If you have a low-bar position, you'd better have some massive traps or prepare to be knocked forward by the fact that the bar will rest out another inch from your body. The little irritation on your back will dissipate after a few pad-free squatting sessions, much like how your hands will adjust to the feel of a bar when you finally ditch your lifting gloves. So, in review:

 

Bar pad for squatting =

Bar resting directly on your back =

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squeeze your shoulder blades together and make that 2nd tier shelf with your trapezius, set that sucker on there instead of the top of your traps. For me, it solved the problem completely.

Im pretty sure thats what i do. I definitely don't rest it as low as that picture. I'd be afraid of falling backwards. I believe the my placement would be more like this:

 

http://mysite.verizon.net/etiolate/squatback2.jpg

 

Im gonna get on those hise shrugs though - im sure that will help out.

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Having the bar low really is better...it gives the weight much less leverage on your lower back so it doesn't just protect your neck. If you lift with Olympic lifting shoes you'll feel much more balanced with a low bar too if you need it.

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threeloaves,

 

One thing to note is that I use a medium-width grip when squatting, so as my hands aren't wide out, it causes the shelf area to rise as I squeeze my shoulder blades together. That adds to the appearance of the bar riding REALLY low, but keep in mind that the shelf where it rests is around 1.5-2" higher when I get tight to set up for the bar.

 

Like Potter said as well, when you get the bar lower it doesn't knock you forward as far - you'll end up leaning forward a bit naturally to keep in the groove, but it won't push you forward as much once you get used to the feel of it. Here's a clip from the one powerlifting meet I did when I still did high-bar style squats - I went a bit deeper than I do now once I went with a lower bar position, but as you can see, I hit a spot coming up where I have to adjust as the bar starts to knock me forward a bit.

 

http://www.musclebuddies.org/rsquat.mpg

 

Once I changed to low-bar position, that problem was gone immediately. It took playing around with positioning for around 2 years of squatting to get used to the way that worked best for me, so if you don't find the perfect groove right off, just keep playing around with different bar positions, stance widths, hand spacing and eventually you'll get to that point where you are comfortable and pain-free.

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