How to correctly prevent cervical pain caused by cycling
Don’t take the risk of expanding your condition and suffer the pain in your spine in silence. Before the cervical spine evolved into a big problem, there are a lot of methods used by professional athletes to solve the small problems of the cervical spine.
Humans were not designed to ride bicycles; the structure of the body was originally formed for the use of upright walking. Cycling completely changes the weight distribution of your spine and muscles, and it bends your back and cervical spine into an unnatural posture.
In fact, when you are in a cycling position, your cervical spine must compensate for this position in order for you to see the road ahead. If your cycling posture is not good, then this problem will be more serious; for a few hours, your cervical spine will stand up straight, staring at the space in front; it’s weird that the neck muscles are not tired.
If you are cycling a long distance, you will feel some small pain. Take this opportunity. Before it becomes a big problem, it can be easily solved through small adjustments in posture.
On the bright side—that is, your problem is certainly not as serious as Michael Shermer’s. After three thousand miles of difficult cycling and racing across the United States, Shermer’s neck muscles became so weak that they collapsed so much that he could never lift his head up again. His team used bungee cords to make a temporary stand to support his head so that he could see the road ahead and allow him to finish the race.
It is indeed an extreme example, to some extent “Shermer’s neck” is now an official term to describe this kind of injury.
Fortunately, the human body is very flexible. Only with proper cycling posture, correct bike size and adjustment, cycling will be a comfortable and painless activity. Below we will provide some preventive measures, and don’t forget that cycling is one of the best exercises for your body.
One thing is quite clear, your cycling posture will directly affect the position of your neck and spine. In fact, the position of your handlebars and the assembly of the bicycle are very important.
It is really easy to prevent and correct the problem by adjusting the position of your handlebars. Solving this problem in the field of bicycles is very simple without knowing too many mechanical principles. These adjustments to your bike will have an immediate remedial effect. The whole process is fast and quite cheap (it is recommended to have time to do a bike fitting, you can get more).
One of the main problems is that the distance from the pole to the handlebar is too long, causing your neck to be in a stretched or overstretched state. This not only requires adjusting the distance between the seat cushion and the handlebar, but also the angle between them.
Change the position of the handlebar
You may only need to do one of several items to achieve the desired effect, but if you combine the following items to adjust the effect will be better.
Increase the height of the handlebar
Stem washer: The function of the stem is to tightly lock the head tube. The height of the handlebar can be adjusted without screwing on the stem. In order to make the handlebar higher, you can put a spacer under the stem to ensure that the stem is locked at the top end of the head tube.
Mechanic’s Note: Don’t overdo it. For your safety, the position of the stem can only be a few millimeters above the head tube.
Stem angle: If you can’t cushion the stem to a sufficient height with a spacer, then a raised angle of the stem will be another way to solve the problem. Some stems allow you to find your best cycling angle by adjusting the angle.
Adapter: If none of the above methods help you solve the problem, you can try some specially designed stems or a converter to raise the height of the handlebars, but then again, if you need to do this, then maybe you The most important thing to consider is whether your bike is suitable.
Reduce the distance from the bike saddle to the handlebar
Stem length: Reducing the length of the stem will make the handlebar closer to the saddle. By changing the angle, various sizes can be achieved, so it should not be difficult to position the handlebar to the correct angle and length.
Mechanic’s note: Before you make extreme adjustments, there is an important step to ensure that you will not get the opposite result: take the parts you are currently using, go to the bike shop near your home to discuss with the mechanic what you are going to do. An additional adjustment will reduce the stability of your cycling.
Hand change position: Although your handlebar is in the correct position, where to assemble your hand change position is still a problem. For this reason, the handlebars are slightly higher, which is conducive to a more upright cycling posture.
Mechanic’s Note: Don’t install the handle too high so that you don’t struggle too much when you want to pinch the brake while holding the bend.
Some other considerations:
Small bend handle. The small handle reduces the distance between the upper and lower handles. This means that changing from one posture to another is no longer a huge difference, which can help cyclists use more comfortable handlebar postures. Usually, the lower handle exists only for short sprints, but when you use the small curved handle, you can find that you can also hold the lower handle to complete a comfortable journey.
The neck is not just a muscle, but many muscles work together: when cycling, it supports your head and keeps your head up.
Take a look at the two X-rays below. The one on the left is a normal cervical spine or a normal neck curve. The X-ray on the right shows a cervical spine that has undergone structural changes due to injury. The tragedy is that most of the cyclists’ cervical vertebrae are of the latter type, which is even worse than that of the X-ray.
Your spine is made up of joints. They have suffered large and small injuries over time. Big injuries include crashes and falls; small ones accumulate, ranging from wrong cycling posture to repeated wrong actions. Under normal circumstances, your joints can withstand these pressures, but they will eventually be damaged over time. It reflects pain, muscle spasms, discomfort, and ultimately structural damage.
Go back to the X-ray film. The normal cervical spine can adapt to a fixed cycling posture, but the less normal cervical spine will become uncomfortable when you ride too fast, making you immediately stop cycling.
From this point of view, what can you do? The first thing is to check your spine. After your cervical spine has been carefully examined, if it is injured here, go for treatment. Once it’s cured, or if it doesn’t hurt, find a professional technician to adjust your bike again.
Remember early detection and early treatment.
Prevent vertebral pain
Go to the doctor for treatment. Expert JoMcRae will tell you how to do it. The following three exercises will help you get rid of vertebral pain during cycling.
It is not enough to focus on the cervical spine. The cervical spine is part of the spine, and the spine connects the upper back and the lower back. To seek solutions to cervical spine problems alone is irrespective of the overall situation.
When you want to decompress the cervical spine, increase the mobility of the entire cervical spine. Stability and strength are the first things. In general, a flexible cervical spine will put less stress on the muscles and bones of the neck.
1. Longitudinal foam roller rolling
This action will increase the rotation and bending of the cervical spine, giving you better streamline (making you faster) and improving your neck posture while cycling. Remember to relax and take a deep breath, rolling left and right 15 to 20 times.
2. Neck sit-ups
Before doing this movement, you may have to practice the third movement-neck curling. Before you can stabilize your cervical spine well, you need to make yourself stronger. The key to the action is: be slow, raise your head slowly, and lower it slowly. It’s definitely harder than you think. Try to use your neck only, your fingers only slightly support your head, and your elbows should be on the ground. Repeat 8-10 times for each group, and do 2-3 groups in succession, with intermittent rest for 1 minute.
3. Bow your head
The target of this action is the deep muscles in the front of the neck. These are the muscle groups that are used when breathing heavily while cycling. Just like you exercise the deep core muscles of your abdomen, these are the core muscles of the neck. In order to do this right, you need to close your mouth and press your tongue against your mouth. When doing this action, after raising your head, hold for 10 seconds, and then return to the original position. The position of your tongue is particularly important. Remember to shut up and press your tongue against your mouth.
JoMcRae is a correction and holistic training expert
When you consider solving any problem, the most important thing is to consider the relationship between the part and the whole. Whenever you want to use the ball to enhance your function or performance, you need to understand the connections between the various parts.
In this case, the cervical spine and the spine, then the spine and the cycling posture. Making changes to them will most likely alleviate problems during long-term cycling.