Swimmers Neck Pain

Swimmers Neck Pain

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog Leave a Comment

Background On Swimmers Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the top five injured areas in swimming. This is not surprising as axial rotation and cervical extension are repeatedly performed during breathing. However, the exact mechanism for pain is unclear, especially in young males.

Previous studies suggest an inverse relationship between age and range of motion and proprioception. Other studies suggest a decrease in range of motion and neck strength correlate with neck pain.

This study looked to determine if in young male adults with chronic neck pain have reduced the cervical range of motion and maximal neck torque forces.

What was done

Four thousand two hundred and ninety-three consecutive males of a cooperating physical therapy clinical age 16-32 years were included. The neck pain group included 746 patients and the control group contained 3,547 patients with pathologies other than the neck. The neck range of motion, a neck disability index (questionnaire determine disability with activities of daily living), and maximal contractions in all planes of motion.


No significant differences were noted between the maximal cervical range of motion or cervical torque.


This study concludes maximal isometric neck torque and maximal cervical range of motion are not correlated with neck pain in young male patients. This suggests other mechanisms as the potential limitation, potentially muscle endurance or proprioception.

Practical Implication

This suggests performing maximal contraction and cervical range of motion may not be suggested to improve neck pain in young males.


  1. Kauther MD, Piotrowski M, Hussmann B, Lendemans S, Wedemeyer C. Cervical range of motion and strength in 4,293 young male adults with chronic neck pain. Eur Spine J. 2012 May 17.

Originally Posted June 2012

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