Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Neck pain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    463

    Neck pain

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    I've been experiencing pain while riding ever since I started in June. I think this comes under the heading of "neck pain", although it's actually lower, around the shoulder blades. It starts after about 5 miles and is really sore after 10. Whenever I stop & stand, and especially if I turn my head, I get intense sharp pains. I now have a chronic mild pain on the left side in this area. While I'm riding the pain is on both sides.

    I brought the bike back to the LBS where I bought it, specifically to address this. They swapped out the stem, to raise the handlebars. They also slid the seat closer towards the handlebars. They went through the whole routine with taking measurements. These were fairly minor adjustments that haven't helped the situation.

    This is the LBS that recommended a 44 cm frame. I've had a few people mention that the bike looks too small. I'm 5'4. In my reading about this, it seems that there are different camps on frame size - "smaller is better", especially for women, or - "get the largest frame you can stand". This makes me wonder if I've just got the wrong size frame.

    At this point I'm not sure what to do. Has anyone else had to troubleshoot this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,473
    Did they measure your shoulders and discuss how your shoulder width corresponds with your handlebar width?

    (My apologies in that I haven't had to troubleshoot this specifically, but just fyi, I am 5' 4 1/2", with short arms and torso, and have a 50 frame. My bike came with handlebars that were way too narrow for me, though, so had to switch to wider ones. Just another parameter to consider... )

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    691
    Hey Amy,

    Sorry to hear that you're experiencing neck & shoulder pain.

    If the frame may be too small for you, have you tried moving the seat back rather than forward? Or maybe a longer stem?

    Do you change hand positions while you ride? Is there any hand position (on the hoods, on the drops, on the flat part of the handlebars) that seems to exacerbate your problem?

    Are there any neck or shoulder exercises that might help with strengthening or flexibility?

    Sorry, lots of questions, but no answers.

    -- Melissa

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    463
    Quote Originally Posted by salsabike
    Did they measure your shoulders and discuss how your shoulder width corresponds with your handlebar width?
    Yes. I don't remember the measurement, but my shoulders are 1 cm wider than the handlebars. He said a wider handelbar would be the next thing to try.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    463
    melissam,
    I switch between the brake hoods and the ends of the handlebars. I've had the seat farther back, and I have noticed that I have to scoot my butt back as far as it will go to make my legs comfortable. After I bought the Brooks saddle I was stopping a lot to adjust its position. It seems like I've tried a lot micro-adjusting.

    Yeah, exercise... (blank stare into the computer screen) I'm looking into that, too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293

    Not sure if it's the same, but...

    When I first started riding, I experienced a lot of pain in my shoulders. As it is, I already am susceptable to getting very tight shoulder and neck muscles due to stress (I carry it all in my shoulds) and ultimately that leads to major tension headaches. I had to spend a lot of time stretching my neck, shoulders, and back after each ride, and took a lot of long hot showers to make the pain go away. But, as I rode more, and the muscles in my neck and shoulders got stronger, I noticed that the pain slowly went away.

    Do you experience tight neck/shoulder muscles at other times or just when riding?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,510
    See a doctor. This doesn't sound right. How old are you? Insist on an x-ray at minimum.

    I had neck surgery in December. I had a couple of disks that were replaced & a fusion of C4-C6. One of the symptoms of cervical spinal problems is a pain in the shoulder areas.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    Its hard to troubleshoot this without seeing a pic of you on your bike. But, I can tell you that I am 5'4" and ride a 44cm bike if that makes you feel better about the size. I have to sell you though, that depending on the manufacturer, I can straddle bikes ranging from 44-51 cm. I bought the 44 to get the seat tube angle and top tube lenght I required. If your bars are 1 cm narrower than you shoulders, that could be your problem. I would recommend going 0-2 cm wider. I went from a 37cm to 40 cm to 41cm bar, and much prefer the 41s (my shoulders are 40cm). But, your saddle fore-aft should be set up to get your knee over the pedals, not to bring you closer to the bars. Stem length and height should be adjusted to modify reach. You can get neck pain when the reach is too long, too short, bars too short or long, or from being too stiff on the bike and not shifting position enough. Its best to have an experienced person look at you as you are riding to troubleshoot, or post a pic for us to look at of you pedaling in a trainer if you have one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Trondheim, Norway
    Posts
    1,469
    I used to have a lot of neck and between-the-shoulder blades pain, mostly from working long hours at the computer. I definitely felt it on rides as well. Then I had a car accident that made it many times worse, but also got me to a physical therapist. She said I was carrying my head wrong. Major posture problem. Keeping my spine straight (tuck in chin, lift head, pull shoulders back, relax into this position) certainly has helped! So too has building core strength (i.e. strength to maintain that straight spine while leaning forward on the bike, using stomach and lower back muscles more than arms and shoulders, thus freeing up arms more for steering etc.). I've also now invested in special prescription glasses for close work, which I hope will help me not tip my head back while staring at the computer screen (as I used to do to see it through the close focus area low down on my multi-focal lenses). Does any of this resonate with what you're experiencing?

    In my experience, p.t.s often have more to offer on this type of thing than doctors. Of course, to get to a p.t., one may need to go via a doctor.
    Half-marathon over. Sabbatical year over. It's back to "sacking shirt and oat cakes" as they say here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,824
    Ouch! You should not need to be i that pain.

    I am 5'4 (I realize we are all shaped differently), with that said, I am on a 50cm bike. Did they have you try a larger frame bike? I have a long torso, so the handlebars were not an issue. I did not "fit" on a WSD, probably due to my liong torso and shorter legs. I fit very comfortably on a 50cm to a 51cm frame. Anythingn smaller and I felt very uncomfortable-my not so local bike store is located at a trail head, so they let you ride as long as you want. It truly helped me find the right fit.

    I noticed others mentioned shoulder exercises. I carry all stress in my shoulders and neck. Luckily or wit a good fit, my bike has not caused any shoulder pain.

    Try being off it for awhile. Ride some larger frames, and if the pain is persistant, please see a doctor.
    Jennifer

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
    -Mahatma Gandhi

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
    -Aristotle

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    463
    I really appreciate your suggestions!

    I don't have a picture of me riding, but when I go back to the LBS I'll bring my camera. I'm 50 years old. I don't carry stress in my shoulders or get headaches, fortunately.

    Triskeliongirl - I will try the wider handlebars, thanks for the information. I think he said my shoulders are 39 cm wide. He did say that he moved the seat forward to get my knee over the pedals.

    I suspect my position could use tweaking. I have been doing some core strengthening exercises all along. I've read about using the stomach and low back muscles more in cycling, but honestly I don't know if I do this or not. I have considered finding a physical therapist who is knowledgeable about cycling. I'm sure there are a few in the Bay Area, and I don't mind seeing my doc.

    And glasses - yes, Ducks! I got a special pair so I wouldn't have to tilt my head up to see the screen. I sit in front of the computer all day at work.

    I did ride a 51cm frame early on, and felt way too stretched out. I had those pains in my lower neck immediately. I told the sales guy this, and he didn't seem really engaged in the issue. That made me go to other stores, and this one in SF suggested I needed a smaller frame. Their "bike fit" guy has been very patient, so I'll see it through. But - I have considered trying other bikes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    497
    another idea is to go to a different lbs to have a fit. Now, there would be a caveat here, in that you need to go to a reputable one who would not consider it an opportunity to hard sell you things you don't need, but is willing to offer an opinion on your current fitting.

    Some way of getting a second opinion on your current fitting might not hurt. It could be that bike store #1 hasn't fitted you properly, despite seeming like they knew what to do.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    691
    dachsund,

    Believe it or not, I was thinking about your neck pain while I was riding today. My mind just kind of drifts, and it drifted to this.

    Do you have anything on your back during rides? Like a Camelbak? Or something in your jersey pocket? Maybe you're compensating thru your neck & shoulders?

    Does one side hurt more than the other?

    Do you have a leg length discrepancy? This usually shows up as low back pain, but if you compensate for the leg length discrepancy, it could show up as neck/shoulder pain. Stranger things have happened!

    I agree with Triskeliongirl in that your saddle fore/aft position should be adjusted so your knee is over the pedal. Adjustments for reach should be made thru the stem rather than the saddle.

    Good luck in getting to the bottom of this!

    -- Melissa

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    If your position is good, then indeed being checked for a leg length discrepancy is in order. I have a large one, and I did get upper back (not really neck, but upper back pain) until I got good PT for SI joint damage AND a custom crank set that deals with my LLD (but mine is very large, 3 cm, smaller ones can be corrected by easier methods). My PT also put me on a program of stretching and back strengthening exercises, which cannot hurt. It is hard to track these things down, since there can be many causes, so the best advice I can offer is putting yourself in knowledgable hands in terms of bike fitters, physical therapists, etc. I still think that trying wider bars may be an easy next step. Its not hard to change them out yourself, so it doesn't have to be expensive. You just have to learn how to move the levers and re-wrap the bars. I found Lennard Zinn's road bike maintenance book an easy way to get started doing my own repairs, which is essential if a lot of tweaking is in order.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    463
    Hmm.... I don't carry stuff in my back pockets, and I haven't used my camelbak yet. While riding it's slightly worse on the left, but there's pain on both sides. The lingering pain feels like a pinched nerve, and is only on the left. Who knows if it's even related to the riding.

    The leg length discrepancy is a good one. I don't remember if the bike fitter measured both sides.

    On the handlebars, I'm pursuing this with the store where I bought the bike because they're not charging me anything to swap out parts. If that doesn't do it, then I'm on to other avenues that will start to cost $$.

    Thanks melissam and Triskeliongirl for your ideas, I appreciate the help. It's a puzzle.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •