neck and shoulder pain

fredstaple

Speeding Up
Nov 1, 2009
198
1
38
Puerto de la Santa Maria
#1
For the last 2 plus years, I have been having pain starting about mid shoulder blade and traveling up to my neck after riding more than an hour. The longer I ride the worse it gets. Streaching ever hour or so helps, but does not get rid of the pain.

My bars are almost even with my saddle now. using a 90 mm +/- 6 stem. Anybody have any ideas on what I might need to tweek to help get over this. I was thinking maybe lifting the bars a little with a 90mm stem +/-17.

The +17 would raise the bar slightly and also shorten the overall reach. I would like to get a few opinions before I drop money on a new stem. thanks
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
Sometimes the 'pro fit' doesn't work for everyone. And especially as you get older those orbital muscle groups tend to get more sensitive. So, if you're riding consistently and the pain is increasing, then, as FE said - check <re> your fit. Why (within 2yr) do you feel this pain? Did something change? Only 1 hr riding? Within 1 hr most people will ride in their anaerobic zone more or less - so , actually outside 1 hr is more honest indicator of conditioning and fit.

Surprinsingly this could be as simple as a cleat alignment and proper positioning over you r pedals. (my hunch).
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
502
133
Japan
#6
Try to ride with no pressure on your hands. Use your stomach muscles and let your butt support the weight of your body.
This , hit your core muscles. As we get older they get weaker and force our arms and shoulders to do more work.

As an experiment move your saddle forward a touch and see what happens.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#7
Freddy...I suffered from those very same symptoms a year-and-half ago. It's damn painful and frustrating. It got particularly worse after overseas trips. I was diagnosed with hernia of intervertebral disk (due to an accident crashing at Norikura - edge of disk got chipped off) in the neck. I really hurt especially on downhills and caused my left index finger to go completely numb at times. I was shown X-rays of my neck where the nerves are getting pressured between 2 disks (6th & 7th). Refusing to undergo a potentially dangerous (loss of speech) operation, I went on a Vitamin B-12 regimen and am still taking 2 tablets every day. The pain disappeared 3 months later and although I can still feel my index finger getting dumb once in a while, the pain is gone - also when cycling. Don't know your age but I was told that this kind of hernia can occur naturally to people "over the hill"...



For the last 2 plus years, I have been having pain starting about mid shoulder blade and traveling up to my neck after riding more than an hour. The longer I ride the worse it gets. Streaching ever hour or so helps, but does not get rid of the pain.

My bars are almost even with my saddle now. using a 90 mm +/- 6 stem. Anybody have any ideas on what I might need to tweek to help get over this. I was thinking maybe lifting the bars a little with a 90mm stem +/-17.

The +17 would raise the bar slightly and also shorten the overall reach. I would like to get a few opinions before I drop money on a new stem. thanks
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#8
Does anyone know of a reputable "fitter" in Tokyo?
Also, I've heard the are several different methods - Usually with the name of whoever invented that particular system.
Any ideas?
I think the most popular one on these boards is Mr Aoyama from Sports Hi-Road.

http://www.geocities.jp/bikehiroad/english/index.html

I had a fitting myself when my knee was playing up like buggery. Sorted the sizing out with no real problems thereafter. Speaks English too.

Here's a couple of photos from the upper body counselling I received.

This is the before shot:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fimg3.imageshack.us%2Fi%2F1beforex.jpg%2F&hash=28cfa10367cf6904fb7f45967cb8bf8e



This is the after:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fimg135.imageshack.us%2Fi%2F2after.jpg&hash=4e1f76e9cafe9fc430afb6e3a2d1b281


http://img135.imageshack.us/i/2after.jpg/

With a few tips on how to improve it further.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#9
As I'm revisiting my former interest in frame design and building - I see some interesting trends with 'new bikes' vs the 'classic' or way we used to do it. Mainly - there is a trend towards smaller frames and a more low-and-long fitting. I looked at the stack:reach ratio of my old team bike vs some new frames and its very different. Old fit was largely more upright with deeper drops. Therefore - most of the peleton time was spend in a more comfortable position. (In my opinion). Today's fits focus on more aero position at some compromise of comfort. For sure the peloton is faster than ever and most riders in a max performance position close to 100% of the time. The drops on the bars is less - though the fit is more stretched out and lower overall. Perfect fit is critical.

I am older - by quite a bit - and notice all the aches and pains more than ever. Most of it is acute. If you have chronic pain - especially in the back, then look at your stack, cleat position and saddle tilt. And perhaps just reduce the drop a bit and as kiwisimon said - square up more over the pedals. Doing more core muscle excercises can't be stressed enough. Your stomach, psoas and related muscles play a HUGE role in how you balance on the bike. As they become weak, you naturally shift your position to put the load more on your back muscles. You gotta think like a ballet dancer and focus to rotate your hips (tucking your ass in) so that you put pressure more on your sit bone than your perinium region. This requires a constant effort by strong core muscles. And largely why people feel good for the first hour or so of riding , then start to feel worse as they go.

Just my 2yen on this. The classic issues I've seen with poor fits are:

1) Saddle too high. If the hips are rocking -you are going to hurt. Everywhere.
2) Reach / Stack is awkward. The bike size is wrong.
3) Too low and long. Getting into a 'pro' position is alot more than just saddle setback and dropping bars to the headtube. Plus, most people's frames are not optimized for their size - so they just 'do this' and think 'its right' , which means they put themselves way out of wack on the bike.
4) Cleats set wierd. Not aligned same for both feet and also not matched to the rider's purpose or style. Either too far forward or back.

Good starting points:

1) Set saddle height until your hips are completely level when you are spinning. No rocking.

2) Set cleat so the axle of pedal is just behind the ball of your foot. As you increase the ankling of your pedal stroke you may even push this further. Hell, some radicals are now suggesting that cleat position closer to the arch is best! Also -adjust the angle of your cleats so that you are pedaling square. If anything, set the heel-out rather than heel-in position to avoid increasing lateral stress on your knee tendons.

3) <Some> overlap in the drops. Bring your knees up to a 3.00 position and get into the drops. There should be some overlap between your elbow and knee. Generally zero overlap will indicate you are too stretched out and too much overlap will indicate you are too cramped. A good starting point is your elbos hitting about midway on the side of your knee.

4) As you get older, or have weaker core muscles, then try for a level saddle position or even slightly upright. 1-2 degrees. As your core strength increases, then gradually adjust tilt.

5) Adjust saddle fore-aft position to hit where you can optimize your musclature. Typically moving your saddle forward will favor higher rpm and glutes, while moving back will put more effort to the quads and favor slower rpm. Somewhere in there will be your perfect fit to get max power from your full set of muscles. My guess is its generally more forward then people think. Which is funny - cause 'the trend' is people attempting to emulate the pros by using more saddle setback - when, in fact - the 'pros' are simply doing this to meet UCI 5cm rule and get the max 'stretch' they can out of a smaller , stiffer frame!!

6) Make SMALL changes!! Even change of a couple mm will be noticable over a typical ride.
 

oggy

Warming-Up
Dec 22, 2010
20
0
0
Lyon
#10
Hello Fred,

happens to me a lot, costs me a fortune in osteopathy (that really helps though). Mine seems to be linked to stress at work, always sitting hunched over a laptop.

Swimming or rowing helps , i think working the muscles that are static when you ride a lot (or something like that)

Another thing is recently i've started using FSA compact handlebars, perfect for old and stiff people, they reduce both the drop and reach. Make riding in the drops a lot nicer.

Wearing sunglasses a lot also makes it worse, and maybe a helmet if it comes down some on the forehead, or an MTB one with a visor, you tend to lift your head up a tiny bit more to get clear vision and this in the long run kills your neck and shoulders.

hope this helps
David
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#11
with gsastuto on this.. though I thought that saddle forward used quads more on long rides and saddle back engaged glutes a bit more. Also agree with osteopathy angle. My work is deskbound most of the time and I need to stretch and strengthen the muscles between shoulder blades. I stretch by putting arms in horizontal position and trying to squeeze shoulder blades together. Other stretch is the penguin - look straight ahead, and pull chin in while keeping head level (just move head back). To strengthen, i do lat pull downs and "small lifts" (10-20 lbs in each hand, bring hands/weight above head (elbow perpendicular), bring arms back a bit (to squeeze shoulder blades together a bit),and do small lifts using the muscle inbetween the shoulder blades). When riding, also suggest riding a bit "chin in" vs chin out.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,739
1,390
133
Niigata
#12
a shorter stem might work

I used to get a sore neck and shoulders in the spring on long rides. I seem to have got over that by doing some light shoulder exercises in the winter. Try some shoulder presses and shoulder shrugs with light dumbbells.

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com