August 2019: On the Treatment Table

August 30 2019

Are you fit to get on your bike?

FOR sports fans like me this month has provided some of the summer’s finest sporting spectacles. There was England’s incredible success at the Cricket World Cup, Djokovic v Federer at Wimbledon and England doing well at the Netball World Cup. However, my personal favourite is the Tour de France, akin to a three-week cycling chess match on some of the finest roads in Europe. Us Brits have got rather good at the TDF in recent years, inspiring many MAMILs or ‘middle aged men in lycra’ (and women of course) to take up the sport.

Cycling is a great safe way to keep fit and unless you fall off of course, there is little or no impact on your joints.  However, like any activity
cycling can lead to a variety of niggling aches and pains, which unless diagnosed and treated properly, can very often lead to a more serious injury.
Most cycling pain occurs because of incorrect bike set-up or poor riding technique.  The most common areas of pain are in the knee and hip, back and neck and hand:

Knee and Hip Pain is a frequent complaint probably due to the huge muscular forces applied through these joints especially when pedalling uphill or in the standing position. Most often these problems are caused by incorrect saddle height and/or pedal alignment. Strains of the powerful thigh muscles, the quadriceps and hamstrings are often due to muscle imbalance. One of the most common problems involves the iliotibial band or ITB, due to repetitive friction on the outside of the knee joint causing pain and inflammation
Neck and Back Pain are especially common when riders are increasing their mileage and time in the saddle.  Neck pain can be caused by several factors including riding position and technique.  Typical riding posture causes hyperextension of the neck and flexion of the lower back, resulting in extra load and muscle and joint pain.  If the back is not well conditioned and flexible, muscle fatigue and strain will lead to pain. Riders suffering from either neck or back pain should inspect their riding posture, ensuring that the handlebar height and saddle position are correct should help minimize back pain. Changing riding technique and position can also help as can using a higher cadence, low resistance spinning technique.  

Arm Pain is less common, but cyclists sometimes suffer from ulnar nerve irritation at the wrist. Symptoms include pins and needles and pain in the hand specifically the little finger, this isn’t to be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the thumb to ring finger. The most common site of irritation in cyclists is where the nerve passes through the canal into the wrist because the hand position on the handlebars puts the nerve compresses it.  Nerve irritation in the neck can also refer pain to the arm.
If you need any further advice
on or treatment then the team at
Action Potential will be happy to
help ease those aches and pains.  You can call us on 0117 961 2060, find us on Facebook or email enquiries@actionpotential.org.uk to book. We provide a chiropractic, physiotherapy, sports massage and podiatry treatments and Pilates at Kingswood Health Centre.