Cycling and Scoliosis - staying ahead of the curve
I've posted the request below to the forums at the National Scoliosis
Foundation. Any suggestions Bike Forum posters have for me are
welcomed as well.
I'm a new poster here, and I'm newly diagnosed with scoliosis. I'm
also a new cyclist, having just learned to ride a couple of weeks
before I was diagnosed. I have about a 5-10 percent curve upward and
forward to the right, giving me the appearance of 'leading' with my
right shoulder. I've managed to train myself to get into a good
posture when standing and when sitting on a normal chair, but even
with having the handlebars raised on my bike, I'm still leading with
my right shoulder. I'm having a lot of muscle fatigue in the right
shoulder blade area. Since I'm riding up to 100 miles a week
currently, this is of concern to me.
I ride a Trek Navigator 3.0, a bike that's designed to keep the rider
in a more upright position than most bikes. I have the handle bars
raised as far as they will go. I'm 6 feet, 250 pounds, and age 41.
I've also lost 137 pounds over the past 17 months through proper
eating and exercise alone.
Any suggestions for how I should proceed? At this point, I feel I have
1. Find a way to keep upright on a diamond frame bike such as my
2. switch to a recumbent bicycle or tricycle;
3. see if a change to a forward riding position, such as on a road
bike, could work for me. Transferring some of the weight to my arms
and shoulders might force them to remain level, provided I could keep
a flat back. I've come across a case of at least one man with
scoliosis who rides this way.
4. Try one of the new design bikes with lumbar support like the Giant
Revive or the Day Six bicycle.
5. Give up riding.
Number 5 is not an option I'm willing to consider. Please, any
suggestions to help me avoid that fate are welcome.
Can't offer any advice on your scoliosis, but would like to comment on your signature:
If you're riding a bike, you're already a cyclist. You don't need to complete a 75 mile bike-a-thon to be considered a cyclist!
I have a couple suggestions: If I understand you correctly, putting both arms out straight in front of you, your right arm will reach a little further out. You could try either having the handle bars turned a couple of degrees to the left to even out the weight distribution (this is my second choice) or increase the thickness of the handlebar tape to the left side. This will transfer more weight to your left side and should releive the fatigue on your right. The more forward position should help too. Just don't over do it with the tape. if you reach is say 1/2 inch greater with the right, only add 1/4 inch of tape thickness. If you over compensate, the extra tape could contribute towards increasing the degree of your scoliosis.
Here's a little background of my perspective on this issue:
I'm 47 years old
Diagnosed with scolisis in 1974, triple curve
70% of my spine fused together in 1975 T4 to L3
bulging disk below L3 in 1993
re-occuring pinched nerve in my neck.
I still have significant triple curves in my back (x-rays look likes your looking at a snake)
I started riding again in the fall of 2005
logged 1107 miles on my road bike in 2006
my goal is double for this year.
OK, I'll rethink the signature line. And perhaps the blog subtitle too.
Originally Posted by skiahh
I'm sorry to read about your curvature, Russ. Mine is about 5-10 per cent, giving me a raised right shoulder. You find taping the bike as you describe works for you?
Originally Posted by RussB
I've been riding with a more forward position on my rental bike during my vacation in Cleveland, and I've found it helps a lot. I'm changing the handlebars on my bike when I get back home. Thanks for the advice.