Can Kayaking Cause Neck Pain? [Is Posture Important]

Kayaking is one of the best activities for adventure-loving people, but it takes great effort! In addition, as kayaking places much strain on the body, kayakers must know how important it is to perform this activity correctly. So, can kayaking cause neck pain, and is your posture important?

Paddling on a kayak puts tremendous pressure on your cervical muscles and compresses your nerves. Therefore, practicing the correct posture when kayaking is crucial, as using the proper paddling technique, staying close to land for breaks if your neck becomes uncomfortable, and stretching before kayaking.

Neck pain while kayaking is not a serious injury, but it could keep you out of the water for a few weeks. 

Continue reading with us as we go through neck pain when kayaking and what you can do to prevent it from getting worse!

What Happens To Your Neck When You Kayak?

Neck pains are a very common condition amongst dedicated surfers and kayakers. The pain in the neck area is generally related to the movement of constant paddling, but neck pains could also appear after a fall or wipeout. 

When you paddle on your kayak, the muscles in your lower back, upper back, and the back of your neck are in constant contraction. 

This causes muscular shortening and tension of the trapezius, as well as other muscles in your neck. 

Your neck is connected to your upper back through a series of seven vertebrae, also known as the cervical spine. Between each of these vertebrae, there is a disk that acts as a cushion for the impact of your movements or hyperextension. 

When you paddle in rough waters, your cervical spine is in a constant state of motion. Generally, the pain in your neck will only start to arrive several hours after your kayak session, which is when your neck muscles go into a spasm. 

However, this whole scenario can become more severe, as your neck ache may evolve into a complex series of torn tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even nerves or bones.

What Is The Correct Posture When Sitting In Your Kayak?

The kayak’s design has been improved over the years, making it more comfortable for the user. Although kayaks are comfortable, they have become so comfortable that it more often promotes lounging instead of the correct paddling posture. 

Although there is nothing wrong with taking a break from paddling and lounging in your kayak to relax, you need to know the proper posture when you’re sitting and paddling on your kayak, as it could significantly help you to prevent any neck, back, and shoulder pains. 

The proper posture could make you paddle longer and harder without getting tired quickly!

The proper sitting position would be upright, with your feet resting comfortably yet securely against the foot pedals of the kayak or in the wells. 

Your legs should remain splayed out but comfortably fixed. This particular leg position will make it easier for you to sit upright and will also reduce any strain it may cause on your back and hamstrings.

Most good-quality kayaks will come with back support. These back supports are suitable for lounging, but when they are tightened, they will encourage you to sit in a more upright position.

How To Practice Kayaking With A Good Posture?

Kayaking is a popular and fun activity, but with such a toll on your body, you must know how to ease the pain and be more comfortable. 

By following these three tips, it will help to keep your body flexible enough to withstand any task that you may encounter while kayaking:

Stretch Before Climbing In Your Kayak

As with any other physical activity, stretching your body before kayaking is crucial. This becomes especially important if you’re going kayaking in the early mornings. 

Your joints and discs are much stiffer within the first 90 minutes of waking, so if you do not stretch, your body will remain stiff, and the risk of hurting yourself increases. 

Kayaking is especially hard on your body, so stretching your back, arms, and legs will help keep your body flexible enough and ready to handle anything the water throws at you, no matter the time of day!

Remain Close To The Shore Or Land To Take Breaks

When you sit in a kayak, you will not be able to change positions, and you will pretty much be sitting in the same position for an hour or two. 

This could cause harm to your back, as you need to be able to get up and relax and take a break from sitting in the same position for too long. 

Thus, it would be a good idea to paddle close to land. 

If you’re far into the open water, with no land in sight, it would mean you have to sit still for longer, having no choice but to paddle a long way to be able to stand up and stretch. 

Paddling in open waters could also be dangerous if you travel alone, and it would always be better to have somebody with you if you need to take a break.

Always Practice The Proper Paddling Technique

Now that you know the importance of sitting correctly on your kayak, it’s essential to know how to practice the proper paddling technique so as not to injure your back or shoulders. 

If you only tend to use your arms to paddle without putting effort into your lower body, it could cause severe injury. 

It would help if you found the most comfortable and natural rhythm between moving your arms and your back with your spine remaining upright. 

Never turn your arms too fast, as turning excessively could lead to pains in the shoulders and arms.

Final Word

Kayaking is known to cause pains in the neck, as well as the shoulders and back. Luckily, using the proper posture techniques can help you avoid these issues.

Also, taking care of your body by stretching will help you overcome any aches and pains you suffer from kayaking quickly and safely.

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