Join Date: May 2014
Location: Rural Minnesota
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Like any sport, cycling can cause some issues if you don't take proper precautions. Aggressive riding stances place the neck in a less than natural position for extended periods which can cause neck problems. The solution is to start with a good bike fitting and getting a stem and seat position that works for you rather than mimics what the "pros" use. Your training should also include neck exercises both for strength and flexibility in all directions, including ones to alleviate imbalances caused by holding the neck in an extended position while riding. When riding for long periods sit up once in a while and do some light stretching like looking left, right, up and down. Hot packs and massage after a long ride might also help.
If you do notice neck problems developing, don't ignore them and wait for them to go away, check with a sports physician, physiologist, or therapist to see what can be done to prevent permanent conditions. Likewise, if you already have neck problems such as previous neck injuries, get an evaluation and mention the issue to your bike fitter.
The OP didn't state that his friend's neck surgery was necessarily due to cycling, just that cycling's possible effect on the neck was brought up at some point. I can easily see that someone with congenital or degenerative conditions, or previous injury, would want to be very aware of neck, shoulder and back positions when choosing a bike geometry and stem length and angle. Slamming the stem is not an option for everyone.
Last edited by GravelMN; 01-15-15 at 08:50 AM.