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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Does cycling cause neck issues?

    I was talking to a buddy last night that has had neck surgery and he had been told somewhere during the process that cycling causes neck problems. I told him I had not heard that, but that I would take it to the Jedi Council.

    Anyone heard of this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    I was talking to a buddy last night that has had neck surgery and he had been told somewhere during the process that cycling causes neck problems. I told him I had not heard that, but that I would take it to the Jedi Council.

    Anyone heard of this?
    A badly fit bike can cause any number of issues, a sore neck being one of them. I never heard of anyone needing neck surgery because of biking though.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Anyone heard of this?


    Nope
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  4. #4
    Senior Member GravelMN's Avatar
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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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    ........ cycling causes neck problems.
    Any sport [or activity] carried to [an individual's] extremes will cause injury. The difficult part is always determining what a "individual's" extreme is. We ain't all the same and most of us reach adulthood with preexisting damage and injuries. And... without a detailed and well documented medical history it might be impossible to tell if cycling "caused" a condition.... or merely irritated it.

    In my case.... I am convinced... the arthritic spurs had nothing to do with cycling. But... extremely long rides on a improperly fitted bicycle most definitely aggravated the condition. Fortunately... a new better sized bicycle [properly fitted] and a little heat/massage.... and I am good. And I might be good for another 20 years or so.

    But bicycling is a sport (and yes... I concede bicycles can be used as transportation as well) and with sports comes injuries. The fitness and health associated with sports are a trade-off with the accompanying ouchies.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ray.garza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
    A badly fit bike can cause any number of issues, a sore neck being one of them. I never heard of anyone needing neck surgery because of biking though.
    I agree that a poorly fit bike can cause all kinds of body aches including the neck. An overly aggressive position on the bike and poor conditioning can lead to problems. Don't worry about it.


    rgvcycling.com - Exploring the Lower Rio Grande Valley on a bike

  8. #8
    Senior Member ray.garza's Avatar
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    Wow! that would have freaked me out if that happened to me!


    rgvcycling.com - Exploring the Lower Rio Grande Valley on a bike

  9. #9
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    I'm not a physician. But from how I'm led to believe muscles and bones work; I can't imagine how, outside of a crash, surgery could be necessary? Inflammation? Soreness? Sure. Cycling isn't exactly good posture and if the bike doesn't fit right then you've definitely got problems. But I can't imagine those problems going to the point of needing surgery? Or am I just way off base? Overtraining and tearing a ligament in the legs I'll buy. But the neck? What's he doing with his neck? Unless I guess it's related to poor fit and his shoulders.

    Sounds like, if anything, cycling exacerbated an underlying injury. A colleague of mine became interested in weight lifting and had a heart attack. Turned out he had a birth defect that the strain of weight lifting exacerbated. It was always there (and is now treated!); so weight lifting didn't cause his heart attack. It was just the straw that broke the camels back.

  10. #10
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    Cycling doesn't always mean that one is on a racing bike with 5+ inches of bar to saddle drop. There are upright position bikes, recumbents, Nitto Technomic stems, etc. If my neck was preventing me from riding, I would adapt the bike so I could ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    I was talking to a buddy last night that has had neck surgery and he had been told somewhere during the process that cycling causes neck problems. I told him I had not heard that, but that I would take it to the Jedi Council.

    Anyone heard of this?
    Yes, I had several neck issues until about five years ago from multiple decades riding on a frame too small and ridding at a time in my developing years when helmets like the V1 Pro or skid lids weighed about 10 times what helmets do now. I moved up in frame sizes and things improved exponentially and have no more neck pain. It literally vanished. I was on a 56cm and should have been on a 62-64cm.
    Life isnít fair. Man up and quit whining.

  12. #12
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Heads are heavy and just holding them up can fatigue neck and shoulder muscles when not totally upright.
    A cyclist/triathlete discussed this at a presentation I attended. Despite all her preparations, she had to rig a neck brace to hold her head in position during 2006 RAAM.

    2006_shanna_armstrong_neck_brace.jpg

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