Neck Pain Cycling

Neck pain when Cycling?

Neck pain in Cyclists


Neck pain is a common complaint among adults but there is an increased incidence of pain within the cycling community. When riding cyclists can adopt a variety of postures from relaxed to more aggressive. A more relaxed position typically requires less neck extension, whereas in a more aggressive position the neck may be required to provide more range of motion to spot ahead while riding. 


Wondering what could be contributing to your neck pain on the bike? Some factors that may be associated with increased neck pain during and after your rides include:


  • Improper bike set up 
  • Gripping the handle bars too tightly 
  • Hiking the shoulders up to the ears
  • Holding the elbows too rigid
  • An overly aggressive bike setup 
  • Transitioning from indoor to outdoor riding
  • Looking too far ahead while riding


Overuse injuries happen when you repeat the same task over and over and the tissue cannot meet the demand. Poor biomechanics or decreased joint mobility will increase the chances of the tissues not being able to meet this demand. Each of the above factors contribute to either poor biomechanics or are related to the tissue not having the capacity to meet the demand.


In general the pain and irritation of a bike ride should subside on its own with rest and recovery, unless there are significant underlying issues. That being said, accessing chiropractic care helps speed up recovery and gets you back on the bike sooner with less pain. Chiropractors can work on the soft tissue and joints to help decrease tension, as well as improve joint range of motion in the neck and upper back. This increased joint range of motion and mobility decreases the chances of pain on future rides. 


Overall, cycling is a safe sport for the joints of the neck and back but irritation of those areas is extremely common. The best approach is to attempt to stop the symptoms from happening in the first place. If you do experience neck pain with cycling, accessing chiropractic care is an effective way to help decrease the symptoms. 


To help prevent neck and upper back pain from sneaking up on you (especially at the start of the season) you can follow these tips:


  • Start with shorter rides, even if you have been on the trainer all winter
  • Take quick breaks during your ride to stretch out the shoulders and neck
  • Keep a nice loose grip on the handlebars and focus on not putting all your weight through your arms
  • Remind yourself to keep your ears away from your shoulders 
  • Look out over your front wheel, try not to look too far ahead down the road
  • Start out with shorter distances and build up through the first couple weeks of the outdoor season
  • See you Chiropractor prior to transitioning to outdoor cycling and after your first couple of rides as a preventative measure


Do you have any questions about Cycling and injuries or pain? Feel free to reach out to either of our two Chiropractors at Connor Chiropractic and Wellness Centre! (As long as you can catch them while they are in the office and not out on their bikes!) 

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