Our chiropractors often see people with injuries and discomfort relating to cycling. These range from neck/shoulder discomfort to low back and discomfort to ankle and foot injuries. A lot of these injuries arise from overuse rather than trauma, unless people were unlucky enough to fall off. Also, if you are starting to train for an event, whether it is just to build fitness, for a fun ride or more serious like a triathlon, if you have underlying dysfunction or imbalances, you are more likely to develop problems and these overuse type injuries.
As more and more people are taking to cycling for recreational exercise, getting to and from work or racing competitively, we are starting to see more and more of these types of injuries. Some of the common injuries of the upper back and neck usually occur due to the flexed forward position that is required for cycling. In this position pressure is placed on the joints in the upper back and the rib articulations. In order to see forward you then have to tilt your head back, putting more pressure on the joints and musculature of the neck and can even lead to tingling in the hands. Lower back discomfort is often due to the cycling position and the repetitive action of the hips. We often see cyclists with tight hip flexors, gluteal muscles and extensor muscles of the lower back.
When you are riding, see how you feel.
- Do you always get sore in the same spot or on the same side?
- Does it feel like you are sitting lopsided on the seat? (this is a common complaint with horse riders and jockeys when they are in the saddle)
- Do you get niggling pain when riding, for example, sore hips, sore neck, tension in the mid to upper back? All of these may indicate you have a spinal imbalance or an underlying injury.
What can you do about it?
Firstly, we would suggest a spinal assessment with one of our chiropractors to have your spine, posture and general function assessed. This can tell you whether there could be a spinal component to the discomfort you are feeling. We can also give you advice on the best steps to take to rectify the problem and get you back in tip top shape.
The next thing to consider, aside from a spinal assessment, is to have your bike set up properly by a professional. Whether you are elite level or recreational, the set up will vary, but it is very important to get it correct. This will help you maximise you performance and to minimise the risk of injuries by way or improving your mechanical advantage and comfort on the bike.