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Biking and Neck pain

Biking and Neck pain

Wondering if anyone has a suggestion on dealing with neck that may be due to biking.

thanks,
Joan

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Re: Biking and Neck pain

Hi Joan,
Huge subject, so many variables.
I would say the solution could run all the way from a minimum of adjusting your position on the bike to the max of having surgery to insert a Ti brace and bones from your hip/leg into your neck to fix a bigger problem (e.g.: Phil Feldman's solution).
My starting point would depend on whether you are a do-it-yourself type or not.  If like doing on your own, sign up to get an ID on WrenchScience website and use their free bike fitting tool (they have one for road and one for MTN) getting someone else to take and average measurements per their detailed instructions and plug them into their calculator.  Compare what they say to where you are.  Your bike has to be the right size and I think their calculator gives you probably the best starting point for bike set up without getting a professional fitting.  I’ve used a lot of online fitting tools and find theirs to be far superior.  Plus, taking all the measurements is fun with your partner after you strip down, if it is a romantic relationship you may not even get through all the measurements the first time!
Even better is to get a professional fitting.  I know that Lutherville Bikes on York Road is certified and can provide a real fitting for a couple hundred dollars.  There are many other local bike shops in the area who also (I’m sure) have certified fitting specialists.  They can also help with shoe fitting and other tricks for specific issues.
In my experience, many pains are caused by being off in position, sometimes by a cm or less (like ¼ of an inch or something).  I expect if you have never been fitted, either of the above fitting solutions will shock you with where they tell you your reach, seat height, pedal arm length and so many other things and may solve your issues.  Often poor fitting also leads to cramping, tingling arms and so much more.
Hope that helps, none of this deals with actual physical ailments, I’m not a doctor, so if you have crushed discs, pinched nerves or that kind of stuff, you may have to change type of bike to upright or like Phil did, switch to a recumbent until his surgery.  Didn’t slow him down any :-)

Stuart

~too much of anything is just enough for me. Pete Townshend

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Re: Biking and Neck pain

Joan - definitely what Stuart says.  If it was me, I'd start with a professional's perspective on your fit...another shop is Twenty20 on "The Avenue" in Hampden Hon.  Johnny and Kris are both fit specialists.  Johnny is also a certified massage therapist, so anatomy is his game.  I believe they can do a "quick" (less expensive) fit or a thorough fit (I recommend that).  If you go there, tell them Bill Wiesand sent you.

Bill

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Re: Biking and Neck pain

Folks,

I've allowed this thread to continue because it has value to the community. However, I'd like to remind everyone of the BBC policy not to allow promotion of any commercial establishment in the forums, lest the Behemoth That Shall Not Be Named muscle in and start posting ads all over the place (it's happened, back in the old days when there was a single email list and yours truly had a lot less control).

There are several great bike shops in our area, and many of them offer professional bike fittings. I agree with the advice posted thus far -- get thee to a LBS and have a fitting. If you have the scratch, spring for a custom-built frame. You'll be glad you did.

Janet L. Goldstein, BBC Forums Moderator
goldstein.j.mail@gmail.com

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Re: Biking and Neck pain

As we age, sometimes raising the handlebar from its old position and bringing it closer allows you to sit up a bit more and put less strain on your neck.  Rotating the whole body position backward around the bottom bracket takes weight off hands to reduce tingling and may be enough to relax your upper body for less strain on your neck.  My wife learned that she prefers upright bars to drop bars to help her feel more comfortable on the bike, a tough choice to find the very lightweight, road machine designed for women specific, but still almost hybrid style fit.  We each have our own agenda for riding, the lighter, racier bike for going fast, something more stable and cushier for comfort, with so many variables in between.  Proper bike fit is key, and I sometimes post this excellent bike fit article by frame builder Peter White linked at: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm    To quote in one of its first paragraphs: "Bicycle fit involves compromises. Compromises between comfort and performance, quick acceleration and handling stability, top speed and "taking in the scenery". ...  "What do I want to do with my bike?", "Why am I riding?"   

I'm still an advocate of making your own choices rather than paying someone a great deal of money to tell you how you 'should' fit the bike.  I'm even anal enough to have purchased adjustable handlebar stems and seat-posts w/ a ratcheting shelf to dial in the fit before locking everything down.  And I've found that different bikes seem to work with slightly different fits.  A professional fitter may be what you're looking for, but I'd exhaust the easy choices first.  Best of luck fighting neck pain.  Anything to be able to still ride! 

Happy trails,  Dan Artley in Parkton

"Biomechanics and all that knee-over-the-pedal plum line stuff is fine and dandy, but when it comes to saddle position, how you feel on the bike is what counts." - David R. Farmer

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Re: Biking and Neck pain

Dan Artley wrote:

Proper bike fit is key, and I sometimes post this excellent bike fit article by frame builder Peter White linked at: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm   

Dan is correct but I've saved (held back) this excellent Peter White link for people who are wanting to really get deep into fitting and who are familier with bikes.  I have found the online resource I recommended as being accurate if accurate data is put in and may be simpler for many novices.  In that same vein, though I've never had a pro fitting, I think that works for many folks who'd rather pay for a pro to figure it out than mess with these kinds of DIY tools and/or extensive reading and studying.  BTW, if someone tells you to straddle the top tube to see if a bike is the right size, please run, don't walk, out of that shop.

~too much of anything is just enough for me. Pete Townshend

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