26 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Coping with Neck Pain from Cycling

My first long ride on a road bike was a typical 100-mile charity “century” ride. That is where I first come to realize that neck pain was commonplace for many roadies. Since then, I have ridden thousands of miles, mostly using bicycles with aerobars. I use the aerobars for two reasons (#1 is the most important): 1) As a 6′ 4″ tall person, aerodynamics on a road bike has always been an issue, so I adopted the use of these to limit my wind resistance. 2) Changing out of hand positions. Using aerobars enables me to move around more on the bike to limit the pain in my hands and lessen the fatigue in the upper body.

Recently I saw this article in the March 2016 issues of Bicycle Times magazine and have reposted it here (used by permission). Points two through four are relevant to neck pain.

I have consulted with my nephew, Jeremiah DeLlamas, who is a seasoned physical therapist. Below are his suggestions on how to alleviate soreness when riding.

When I ride, I really try to consciously remind myself to perform chin tucks and shoulder retraction exercises or Shoulder pinches. Because of the rounded shoulders and forward head in the extended position, this puts a lot of stress on the posterior disc of the cervical spine and deep cervical musculature. Try to deep the chin tuck exercises and this will help activate the deep cervical muscles as you are riding. Every 20-30 minutes remind yourself to do 10-15 chin tucks holding for 5 seconds. Stop in at the building when you are in town and we can go over more.

My takeaway from his suggestions was to regularly tilt my head down (aka chin tucks) while riding. I used to only turn side to side, which providing marginal, if any, benefit.

Hopefully, these suggestions will allow you to go further and/or faster, while minimizing your pain threshold!

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