Bjj Neck pain – Types and prevention

BJJ is a very physically demanding sport. You will have to contort your body in many different positions while you do it. This is, for the most part, a good thing. It means that you will work your body in novel ways that you likely never thought possible before. However, it does take its toll. One of the most delicate areas in the human body is the neck. And the neck can take a beating in the sport and martial art of BJJ. That being said, this article will detail some of the most common BJJ neck injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

Bjj Neck Injuries Types

Herniated discs

As we’ve mentioned before, the structure of the human neck is very delicate. There are 7 cervical vertebrae in the neck – their job is to support your head and assist in movement. They have discs between them and their job, in turn, is to absorb the shocks and prevent the vertebrae to rub against one another.

But sometimes, the discs may spill over their inside gel-like substance. If this happens, then you have a herniated disc problem. This usually causes inflammation problems on your spinal nerve. As a result of this, you may be in pain.

There are many potential reasons why herniated neck disks can occur in a person’s neck. Aging is one of them – the neck structure will grow weaker as we age. This can leave the field open for herniated discs problems. Also, improper lifting and weight bearing may be a direct cause of herniated discs. Enter the world of BJJ.

If you feel pain radiating from your neck or if you feel tingling sensations or loss of feeling somewhere along your arms – it’s probable that you have a herniated disk. In such a case, you will want to consult a doctor for what to do. Take it easy on the mats – now is not really the smartest times to train a sport where there are moves like guillotines and neck cranks

The good news is that, in some cases, the herniated disc can fix itself out with time. Overtime the herniation will shrink in size and the pressure on your spinal nerve will be relieved. However, we do recommend that you see a doctor either way.


Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs after sudden jolts of force that shoot your neck forward or backward. This is an injury primarily to the surrounding musculature of the neck. There may be muscle tears or strains. This injury is very common when people are driving in cars and they have a mild car crash. The force of inertia will make their head shoot forward or backward – and this can cause whiplash.

Which is not to say that you can’t get this problem in BJJ. Far from it. There are some scenarios and moves when you may get the exact same thing. As we’ve mentioned before, BJJ is a highly volatile and explosive sport. Your neck may take a beating and sometimes it may move explosively, which can cause whiplash. Typically, it will take some time for the muscles to heal and your neck to get back to normal

How to prevent BJJ Neck Pain

Sometimes the force that will go against the normal structure of your neck will be so big – that there is no way to prevent it. Your best bet is to roll gently – which we know is not always possible. If you have persistent neck issues, then you may want to rest until your enck gets better before you start  training BJJ again.

You can also do some neck-strengthening exercises. These will strengthen the surrounding musculature of the neck and make it more powerful. In this state of affairs, it will be able to absorb a lot more shocks than usual.

Also, a very important – and often neglected – thing to do is warm up before practice. It’s easier to just jump right into the deep end of the BJJ pool, but this can be a critical mistake. Make sure that you do some warm-up drills for at least 10 minutes, prior to your BJJ practice. And you should also target the warm-up of your neck with them. This will dramatically decrease the incidence of neck injuries.

In conclusion

The neck is one of the most delicate areas of the human body – and you need to treat it as such. So, in terms of BJJ, if you feel that anything’s off with your neck, your best bet is to stop practice immediately and go see a doctor. Aside from that, you need to do neck warm-ups and neck training drills. Tap early and tap often – don’t wait for your opponents to complete their neck cranks and for the pain to become unbearable. We hope that you won’t ever have to deal with any neck injuries whatsoever.

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