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  1. #1
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    And I Was Doing So Well!

    March was a pretty good month for my riding and weight loss (not spectacular, but inching downward). April was shaping up into something even better.

    Until I started having problems in my shoulders and arms. I've been waking to numbness in the arms. I thought was just some odd position I was sleeping in, which I do frequently. My sleeping consciousness decides something like, 'Okay, Let's twist the hand like that and try to hyper extend it against her cheek while twisting the neck in a 95 degree turn and a side tilt of 25 degrees. Pull a knee up to her chin and the other arm wedged under her hip so no blood flows to it.' I exaggerate... somewhat, but that's the gist. It can go on for days or even weeks as I try to retrain my body and mind to find something that doesn't require the skills of a yoga master.

    So, body parts that have the tingling of lack of blood flow are nothing new to me and I didn't worry about it. The pain, I've had flare-ups of tendonitus and that's exactly what this feels like. So, I've done what I was told to do the last time I had it happen.

    Unfortunately, staying off my wheels is one of the things and it's driving me mad. I'd hoped to break the '100 miles in a week' mark by this point, but this week all I'll have is 10. *sigh*

    And the stretches, OTC anti-inflammatory meds and such seemed to work at first, but now it's backsliding. So, I'm making an appointment with a doctor today. Fingers crossed this can be quickly and easily taken care of and I'll be back in the saddle soon.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I have shoulder problems too - went so far as to get an MRI last October but the doc decided surgery wasn't required and then did a round of PT that really fixed it up well but now the issue has migrated to the other shoulder. Like you, I attribute it to sleeping wonky and riding. I'm trying to force myself to sleep with my arms down and I think that's helping. I think.

    Good luck with yours and cycling isn't the only way to get exercise - get walking while you recover.

  3. #3
    Cactus Hobbit GeoBigJon's Avatar
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    I had a similar issue with my right wrist, kept waking me up and I had forced it into a funky bind. I had to sleep about a week in a wrist brace it get it worked out. I have flare ups every now and again but the brace is always in my bedside drawer. Good luck finding a fix to your issue.

  4. #4
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    I'm reading these posts and seeing a pattern of soreness from what seems to be stemming from riding. Now, I'm no expert so I could be way off the mark here, but have any of you been professionally fitted to your bicycles? How'bout the handlebars adjusted? I keep thinking all of you with shoulder/wrist issues are either positioned so you have too much upper body weight on the handlebars or your wrists are cocked funny on the handlebars due to their positioning.
    - Dan \m/

  5. #5
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    I don't know if my advice could help you but I also had pain in my arms, shoulders and neck when I ride and I've been told to try a wider handle bar. I went for a 3 in. wider handle bar and I've seen a big improvement. It still uncomfortable some times but not painful anymore

    Good luck!
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramiscram View Post
    I don't know if my advice could help you but I also had pain in my arms, shoulders and neck when I ride and I've been told to try a wider handle bar. I went for a 3 in. wider handle bar and I've seen a big improvement. It still uncomfortable some times but not painful anymore

    Good luck!
    Do you wear cycling gloves? If so, if you're not wearing the gel ones, try them. They soak up some road imperfections. I've used both, with and without gel, and the ones with gel make a world of difference.
    - Dan \m/

  7. #7
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    I think that my bike fit caused me to have frozen shoulders. My problem started out like yours. My bars were very low and I was having some numbness in my hands and my arms and shoulders would get tired after about 20 miles of riding. (3 years of frozen shoulders to the point that you can't take your wallet out of your back pocket without pain is no fun.)

    Try getting as much pressure off your hands and arms.

    When you sleep try to make sure that you keep your arms down by your side. This will really help with the shoulders. I have even considered tying my hands with a cloth going between my legs so that I can't raise my hands without untying the cloth.

    Now for the horror story. One of my friends (who doesn't drink) got what is called drunkards elbow. He slept wrong on his arm and when he awoke he could not move his hand. The doctors rerouted all kinds of things in his arm and he had to learn how to move his fingers again. Since things were rerouted different nerves activated different fingers. He said that in the beginning that he might want to close his middle finger and his ring finger would extend. After several months he can move his hand and fingers without even thinking about what he is doing. So please try to sleep in half way reasonable positions.

  8. #8
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    So please try to sleep in half way reasonable positions.
    Gadzooks! My doctor looked at me really strangely when I postulated that my sleeping habits caused my shoulder issue. It's interesting to hear from others who have had similar issues.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    I think that my bike fit caused me to have frozen shoulders. My problem started out like yours. My bars were very low and I was having some numbness in my hands and my arms and shoulders would get tired after about 20 miles of riding. (3 years of frozen shoulders to the point that you can't take your wallet out of your back pocket without pain is no fun.)

    Try getting as much pressure off your hands and arms.

    When you sleep try to make sure that you keep your arms down by your side. This will really help with the shoulders. I have even considered tying my hands with a cloth going between my legs so that I can't raise my hands without untying the cloth.

    Now for the horror story. One of my friends (who doesn't drink) got what is called drunkards elbow. He slept wrong on his arm and when he awoke he could not move his hand. The doctors rerouted all kinds of things in his arm and he had to learn how to move his fingers again. Since things were rerouted different nerves activated different fingers. He said that in the beginning that he might want to close his middle finger and his ring finger would extend. After several months he can move his hand and fingers without even thinking about what he is doing. So please try to sleep in half way reasonable positions.
    Regarding bike fit, the owner of our LBS is certified to do fits and he mentioned one way to tell if your posture is off is if your knuckles turn really white when you're gripping the bars. In that case, you have too much weight on your arms. Just keep in mind that just because you may have your bars adjusted and your knuckles aren't white doesn't mean you have a proper fitting, that's just part of it. Maybe sliding the saddle forward a little bit will help, too. Very slight adjustments make a huge difference.
    - Dan \m/

  10. #10
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    I wear a wrist brace to sleep often. I have some carpal tunnel issues that manifest themselves into shoulder pain (sometimes even headaches) instead of the usual numbness in hands or wrist pain.

  11. #11
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    About a month ago I fell and landed, hard, on my left shoulder. Since then the shoulder has been hurting a LOT. Two things make the pain worse: 1. Climbing out of the saddle and 2. Using my iPad (that thing is heave, for a tablet, and when I hold it up with my left hand the shoulde starts to hurt).

    I've been icing the shoulder and taking Motrin PM at night to help me sleep.

    So far I am still keeping my mileage up, but I may soon have to go and see a doc. The pain really sucks.

    On the plus side, I am now a couple of tics under 200#.
    My current stable:

    1989 SLX Bottecchia (Campy Athena 11s)
    1999 Cannondale F400 mountain bike
    2012 Bianchi Infinito (Campy Record 11s)
    2012 Colnago C59 in PR99 color scheme (Campy Record 11s)

  12. #12
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
    On the plus side, I am now a couple of tics under 200#.
    Congratulations! I like how you tried to sneak that in there.

  13. #13
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    eja_bottecchia: I'm learning more more about inflammation and what I've learned quite recently is that training is a form of controlled inflammation. I've been trying to deal with chronic left shoulder pain for quite awhile and it finally forced me off the bike in early Feb. Thinking that I could just take the strain off the shoulder and it would heal, I hit the treadmill hard. My shoulder didn't heel very much at all in 7 weeks. As I started adding more rest days in it finally started healing. I'm down to 3 mild workouts a week and it's healed more in the last 2 weeks than all the other time combined. Could it be that by continuing to ride you're spreading the ability to overcome inflammation over too large an area?

  14. #14
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    Glad to hear I'm not alone on the sleeping issue. I often wake wondering what on EARTH drives me to sometimes fall into the habit of adapting such painful and wierd positions. I've been trying to sleep on my back, arms at my side. It's not a position I sleep in naturally. I've been a side sleeper all my life.

    As for the cycle fit, the need for gloves and such, I ride a recumbent. No weight braced on my arms and shoulders at all. This episode of shoulder pain/numbness seems to coincide more with spending long hours at my computer trying to learn a new 3D modeling software. Any position resembling hands on keyboard and mouse aggravate the condition more than anything. It removes 90% of the things I do through a day, including riding though I've wondered if I tilt the handlebars toward my hips more if it might change the position enough to let me ride. I'm going to try that today.

    I've been walking, but that just kills my knees and ankles so can't do more than 40 minutes broken into two 20 minute walks before I have to call it quits for the day. My weight loss has stalled. I will try a ride today with the new grip position. Fingers cossed.

    I have a P.T. appointment on Tuesday.

  15. #15
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    I can't sleep with my arms down at my side.I have recently had success dealing with the same problem and here is what I did. I read another thread here that mentioned the hackers diet. I looked it up and reviewed the exercise plan. I thought that I would try the exercise routine every day at a minimum.
    I have been using the exercise plan since March 10th and it has helped a lot. I'm at level 12 starting today. My shoulders feel much better and i can sleep normally without pain or discomfort.
    I will admit that I have adjusted the program to fit my circumstances. In the first 2 weeks I progressed many levels because it was too easy. I do regular push-ups now and use crunches instead of sit-ups. I hope this helps with your problem.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the feedback all!

    Improvement in my shoulders had been coming and going. I have managed to get a couple of short rides in and a 22 mile ride last Sunday.

    PT today went well. It turns out I have compressed nerves in both shoulders. The nerves are getting squeezed between the outer ends of my collar bones and the ball joint of my arm. Lots of exercises to stretch the tightened muscles and tighten the over-stretched ones to put everything back in alignment as well as increase circulation in the pinched areas. When I first mentioned cycling, she advised it would aggravate the condition. When I showed her a photo of my 'bent, she said it would be fine since the position of my arms would be further back.

    So, I'm feeling optimistic. She also added that I shouldn't lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for a week or so. I might have to fudge on that a bit to carry my 'bent out for rides.

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