Prevention is important if you want to save yourself from serious injury during your stint at a BJJ school. Often, new trainees do not pay much attention to some of the things they need to do to avoid serious injuries. The fact that some of the injuries you can sustain might be very difficult to treat should prompt you to do all you can to avoid them. Injuries to the cervical spine can occur when taking part in this type of training, and are one of the classes of injuries that you should avoid at all costs.
Cervical strains and sprain injuries
The cervical spine is perhaps one of the most vulnerable areas of the body, especially when training in BJJ. The spine consists of seven vertebras that support your head. In its healthiest form, the cervical spine is flexible and slightly loose. However, in case of injury, you might find the strain having a locking effect on the muscles of the area. You are also likely to suffer from associated pain as well. Other signs of damage include reduced mobility as well.
Perform neck strengthening movements before BJJ training
BJJ allows strangulation as one of the motions of attack or defense. In this motion, the neck is quite prone to injury. However, if you begin every Jiu Jitsu training with neck strengthening movements, you will reduce vulnerability of the area by a large degree.
Strengthening the spine
Try this simple routine religiously before your BJJ grapple every time: gently roll your head in circles and from side to side, making sure to stretch the cords in your neck. You should also repeat movement from front to back to stretch properly.
Use your hand to provide pressure resistance as a means of strengthening neck muscles. Place one hand on your forehead, and then press your forehead in to your hand. When feeling the pressure in your neck, hold for 20 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. You should also use this movement on either side of your head and then interlace the fingers of your hand to provide resistance to the back of the head as you stretch.
What if you get injured?
If you end up getting injuries to the cervical spine, it would be wise for you to be aggressive in seeking some medical help. Most of the injuries you will sustain are sprains, which can heal on their own. However, there are very few cases where you may end up with more serious injuries such as fractures of the vertebrae in the cervical spine. These are usually better treated when they are detected early. Early detection also reduces the risk of complications such as progressive damage to the spinal cord. Once this starts, it is normally difficult to treat it.
This should not scare you from trying out BJJ. As long as you get the training from a quality institution and pay attention to instructions such as warming up before each exercise, you will have a very low risk of suffering from this type of injury.