Q: I have been struggling with a hamstring injury since Comrades. I now also suddenly suffer from neck pain and headaches. Could it be related to my hamstring? – Gail M
Sports therapist Benita de Witt answers:
Absolutely! If you run through pain, the body will be forced to compensate to protect itself. Without realizing, you will move into a rotation position to ‘twist’ away from the hamstring to avoid using it. The connective tissue then ‘locks’ into this twisted position to maintain it.
When you run, the left leg and right arm and shoulder moves forward, while at the same time the right leg and the left arm and shoulder extend backwards. The body keeps rotating like this throughout your run.
If, however, the body becomes ‘locked’ in a position to avoid a specific movement, as in your case, the one hip and opposite shoulder will lock, and the natural rotation movement of the body will be out of sync.
Whenever the shoulder becomes stuck in a position, it affects the movement of the neck. The connective tissue in the arms runs from the fingers all the way to the skull and shortening of these tissues will diminish the natural movement of the neck, which will cause pain.
Every part of the body is connected to everything else through connective tissue. If you put two fingers on the top of your nose and then move your big toe, you will feel the delicate movement in the nose. If a part of your body becomes stuck due to injury, it affects and could cause injuries in other areas.
Never run through pain, it will always lead to more injuries.