Cycling neck muscle pain treatment Online
Many cyclists are complaining about shoulders and neck muscle pain during and after the ride, although these parts of the body does not take a major role in the cycling activity. Unlike bicycle saddle sores or bicycling knee pain, neck and shoulders pain will probably not prevent you from continue cycling, but they can cause unpleasant riding experience. Moreover, neck pain might have a long-term effect on your day-to-day functioning.
Signs and Symptoms of Neck Muscle Pain
Bicycling neck pain is caused by tightening the muscles that hold and extend the neck during cycling. Neck muscle pain is usually associated with stiffness in the neck, causing reduction in the head movement range. In addition to its direct affect, neck muscle problems may lead to pain in other parts of the body, such as the arms, shoulders and head.
Possible Causes of Neck Pain While Riding?
Improper Riding Position (Posture)
While riding a bike (especially road racing bicycles), our upper body is leaning down and forward towards the bicycle handlebars. The gravitation pulls our head, that its weight is about 10% of our total body weight, to fall down.
The neck muscles are not only capable of holding our head while sitting or standing in an upright position: they can also hold our head in other postures. Still – they are not designed for a prolong effort of supporting the head in a horizontal posture.
The more flexed a posture you adopt on the bike, the more extension is required from the neck. To support that, the neck muscles may tighten. That may lead to neck pain or to fatigue.
Just note: we may not feel any immediate neck muscle pain, but these loads will accumulate over time, and the inevitable result is pain.
Bicycle crashes may also lead to neck muscle pain, as the muscles work to protect the neck while the body is thrown off the bike. Even during a down hill biking, extreme biking or even during a routine mountain biking, our neck muscles might experience shocks or suffer from sudden drops when hitting rocks. When riding through unfamiliar trails, we tend to grab the handlebars too tightly, resulting in future stiffening the neck muscles. This may also lead to shoulders and neck muscle pain.
How to Avoid or Ease Neck Muscle Pain
Change Your Posture on the Bike
Try to ride in a more upright position. Do not lock your elbows; make sure they are slightly bent, in order to allow better shock absorbing, preventing these shocks affecting the shoulders and neck.
If you feel a pressure in your hands, slightly tilt back the saddle. While riding try to sense if your shoulders are tight, strained or relaxed.
Review your head position on the bike from time to time. The further down the road you are looking – the more extension there is on the neck. Try to focus on the few meters ahead to prevent too much neck extension. Look further ahead only when you have to.
Tip: See a chiropractor if you suffer persistent neck pain.
You’ve tried deep heat muscle rubs, agonizing sports massages and expensive spa treatments and your neck pain still refuses to go away. In this case, you should see a chiropractor. While most neck pain for cyclists is caused by sore muscles, persistent neck pain may be indicative of degenerative disks or other more severe ailments. It’s best to get it checked out by a professional.
Check your Bicycle Size
Check your bicycle size and make sure that the length of your bike’s top tube is right for you. You can also change the saddle position, but a better method is to use a shorter stem. Raising the handlebars or using handlebars with a shallower drop (in road bikes) would also help in reducing the amount of neck hyperextension.
Perform Stretches and Exercises
To prevent the buildup of tension in the neck muscles, perform routine stretching exercises to these parts. It can also be done while riding: roll your shoulder blades back and forth, shake your head from side to side, up and down.
Heat your upper shoulders and neck. It may give some relief from neck pain. You can use a heat pack or just a good hot shower. Get a massage to loosen out the neck and shoulders.
Stretch the muscles around the neck and shoulders after training. Besides stretching, try to strengthen the neck muscles. You can read here more about strength training.
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Books about Neck Pain Treatment
More information about neck pain can be found on several informative books. Take a look at these selected books:
Last Word about Bicycling Neck Pain
Each time you suffer from neck muscle pain, or in any other neck shoulder back pain related to bicycle riding, there are several actions that you can take to ease the pain or even to prevent it. In any case of a severe neck pain it is always best to consult a doctor. My advice is to consult a doctor who is specifically specializing in bicycle riding typical injuries.