Bicycling is one of the most popular, and most dangerous, hobbies among U.S. adults. About 1 in 4 people over the age of 18 own a bike and ride on a regular basis. The good news is that more than 47 million Americans recognize the incredible health benefits of cycling and enjoy the wonderful sense of freedom it brings. The bad news is that bicycles are one of the most dangerous consumer products on the market, though a huge majority of the injuries attributed to them are minor or preventable, or both.
If you are a cycling (commonly called “biking”) enthusiast, you probably already know that one of the most common ongoing injuries is neck pain. Why? In addition to the fact that biking propels riders at a high rate of speed several feet above hard cement and pavement, it’s necessary to contort the entire body in order to operate a bicycle. Like many other sports that require us to assume unnatural postures, skating and martial arts for example, cycling leads to a whole host of body aches and injuries.
Care is the Solution
So, what’s the bottom line for cyclists who experience regular bouts of neck pain? One word: chiropractic. The huge advantage of chiropractic treatment for cycling-associated neck pain is that it delivers two key benefits, relief and prevention. Chiropractic physicians possess a very large toolbox of treatment methods to relieve cyclists’ neck problems, but they also have the ability to teach patients how to prevent future bouts of neck-related suffering. Cyclists who suffer from neck pain can get significant relief from chiropractic treatment. Additionally, a chiropractor can help cycling enthusiasts learn how to avoid future recurrences of back, neck, shoulder, and other kinds of physical discomfort.
It’s Up to You to Ask for Help
Cyclists have a couple of responsibilities of their own, even before booking a session with their chiropractor. First, it’s important to know the kind of neck and other injuries you regularly encounter due to cycling, as well as the severity levels of the injuries. One way to begin is to determine what kind of cyclist you are, learn about the common categories of cycling injuries, and understand what a chiropractor can do for your neck pain.
What Kind of a Cyclist are You?
People ride bicycles for many different reasons, including fitness, fun, transportation, socializing, and competition. The more you ride, the more prone your body is to injury, particularly neck pain. There’s a very simple reason for that fact. Cyclists who use “good form” to move along on their bikes need to crane their necks in order to see the road ahead. This is especially true for sports cyclists who compete and/or put in hundreds of miles per week. Step one is knowing what kind of cyclist you are, based on the standard categories:
Competitive: Racing, putting in high mileage every week. These cyclists usually own a high-end bike and rarely miss a day of training.
Casual: Cycle for fun and perhaps fitness but mainly for socializing. This category accounts for the majority of cyclists.
Fitness: Often cycle alone and do so primarily for staying in good shape. Might participate in amateur races or long-distance rides.
New: You’re just getting started and haven’t yet decided how much time you want to devote to the sport. New, enthusiastic cyclists often become injured because they log more miles than their bodies are able to handle.
Unlike running, in which the body takes its share of punishment but remains relatively upright, cycling twists the human form into a virtual pretzel. It’s no wonder that millions of bike owners have neck, shoulder, knee, ankle, and back problems.
Your own neck pain will likely vary according to the amount of time you spend on your bike and the type of riding you do. If you race, compete or log lots of miles, there’s a good chance your neck pain can become pretty severe. Likewise, if you’re a casual, social, or fitness cyclist, the pain is probably more moderate. In either case, it’s essential to get even the mildest case of neck discomfort treated as soon as you notice it. Any aches, odd feelings, muscle cramps, or immobility in the neck area can lead to very serious health issues.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Cyclists
The primary benefit cyclists get from chiropractic care is pain relief. Equally important, though, is that your doctor can show you have to prevent frequent recurrences of sports-related pain and injuries. Chiropractors can treat back, neck, and every other kind of pain that results from cycling or any sport, even everyday activities and advancing age. In short, cyclists visit chiropractors for the following reasons, regardless of how much cycling they do each week:
To obtain general pain relief for neck, back, shoulder, and knee pain associated with bicycling
To increase their range of motion in legs, back, torso, arms, and neck
For quicker injury recovery
To learn better body mechanics in order to prevent future injuries
For a more balanced musculature and to enhance overall muscle tone
The key thing to remember is that your chiropractor not only helps relieve pain but can teach you how to become a more efficient cyclist and enjoy your sport without having to worry about long-term physical pain. When you learn how to balance your muscle development and align your body properly while on a bike, your skill level and endurance increase naturally. Another benefit of treatment is that your chiropractor can offer professional advice about diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and at-home therapy routines that will keep you in top shape.
Common Physical Problems Caused by Cycling
What types of injuries do cyclists encounter? The list is long, but here’s a short version of the most common ones:
- Overused muscles, joints, and tendons
- Numbness from direct pressure on hands, buttocks
- Back, neck, shoulder pain
- Sore hands, wrists, arms
- Knee pain and dysfunction
- Foot and ankle pain and impairment
- Hip soreness
Of all cycling-related injuries, neck pain is probably the most serious because it can quickly get worse and cause a whole host of serious physical problems. As any chiropractor will tell you, neck pain should never be ignored, even if its mild and only lasts a short while. When your neck hurts, your body is issuing a very strong warning.
Getting the Right Kind of Help
Don’t procrastinate about getting the help you need for neck pain. Unlike many other ailments and injuries, neck problems usually get worse when neglected and can become major health problems no matter how young or fit you happen to be. Dr. Tim Ciolkosz is the chiropractic physician who runs Spinal Health & Wellness at Pike Creek in Wilmington, Delaware.
I, Dr. Tim Ciolkosz, specialize in treatment and prevention of all types of sports injuries, scoliosis treatment, whiplash injuries, headache, neck pain and low back pain treatment. If you want to live your life and enjoy your bicycle rides without having to worry about neck pain, I can treat your current injuries and show you how to avoid future cycling-related pain.
Make an appointment for an evaluation and get started back on the road to pain-free cycling today. The direct phone number is 302-993-9113. We are accepting new patients and are always happy to answer questions you have about your aches and pains.