Moving & Riding: Pain Relief Tips for a CyclistJanuary 21, 2016
One common complaint from cyclists are neck and shoulder pain following a ride. I can attest to this, I have recurrent neck and shoulder pain that seems to be worse after a ride. The major contributing factor to this is the position of the head and neck while riding. Most of the time while riding you are bent forward from the waist to reach the handle bars. This position points the eyes down to the ground, and to look up and see what is in front of you, the neck needs to bend backwards. This position is okay to be in for a few minutes, but not for hours on long rides. The best way to remedy this is to frequently change positions.
Posture while riding
Posture is the way the body is positioned while performing activities.
Posture should be a dynamic process, moving and adapting to the stresses place on the body. By allowing the posture to be dynamic and change based on the stresses applied, different muscles activate to give others a break.
- Muscle and joint pain from static postures is caused by muscles contracting and adding compression to the joint.
- If other muscles do not activate to support the body, the contracting muscles will become stiff and tight and limit the ability to move through full range of motion.
- These contracting muscles become use to supporting the body and less flexible.
- This means that it takes longer for the muscle to return to its normal length and will become weaker.
Decreased feeling in the hands
Another complaint common among cyclist is decreased feeling in the hands or even numbness. This occurs for the same reason as the neck pain. There are nerves that run from the neck down to the arm and into the hand.
- The nerves could become pinched or entrapped from a poor neck position or compressed in the hands from grasping the handlebars.
- The position of the hands should also be moved frequently to allow the nerves to have a proper blood supply.
- Nerves do not like to be stretched or compressed for extended periods of time.
- The posture of your hands should also be dynamic, moving as needed from the hood to the drop bars and off the bars if you are able. This enables the nerves and muscles of the hand to receive blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the rest of the body.
Adapt to the Environment
The take home message is continue to move while you are riding.
The human body was not built to stay in one position, rather it should be able to adjust to absorb shock while you ride. Allowing your body to change positions and adapt to the environment will allow you to ride farther with less energy and decrease pain after the ride.