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Old 04-01-08, 08:49 AM   #1
explody pup
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bad lower neck/upper back pain

On 30+ mile rides, I always end up with some serious pain in my neck/back, centered just above my left shoulder blade and spreading somewhat to the right. Stretching while on and off the bike helps a little, but not much. Even now it hurts.

From what I've read, this is a fit issue, but nothing I've tried has helped. One bike has the handlebars nearly level with the saddle and another has the bars approximately 4-6cm lower than the saddle. I have this issue on both bikes.

Has anyone here had this problem? What did you do to resolve it? Can this be fixed by stretching/conditioning/strength training or is it solely an issue with bike fit?
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Old 04-01-08, 09:05 AM   #2
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I also get neck pain from time to time and for me it is a combination of stretching/lifting and bike fit. Stretching helps as does light weight lifting in the shoulder area. I have my saddle about equal to the bars. I also found it helpful to keep the uper body relaxed when riding. Try keeping the hands relaxed and don't tense up the shoulders. Little things seem to help like occasionlly turn your head from side to side and get into a different position. Maybe try getting the bars even higher and drop them back down when the pain is under control.
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Old 04-01-08, 10:12 AM   #3
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
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Old 04-01-08, 07:10 PM   #4
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What he said. ^^^^

When my neck hurts, it's because I'm trying to look through the optical center of my glasses. Sometimes, it's also because I have the visor adjusted down too far for how I'm riding at the time.

If my lower back hurts, it's because the bike is too small.
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Old 04-01-08, 09:04 PM   #5
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So, have you had your bike fitted? Do you keep your elbows locked and your shoulders hunched up when you ride? How's your core strength?
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Old 04-02-08, 07:40 AM   #6
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I haven't had a professional fitting. I've used some online calculators I've found and a friend to help me get accurate measurements. Some of the older guys who I occasionally ride with said that they can't see anything wrong with my fit. These guys have been riding longer than I've been breathing air, so I tend to accept their opinion. Elbows are slightly bent, same with shoulders and arched back, ala Sheldon's recommendations.

Core strength, however, is probably lacking. I figure a weak-ish core is keeping too much pressure on my hands-shoulders. I imagine upper body strength could help, too, as pointed out earlier.

I'm kind of curious to see if anyone has had similar problems that were taken care of by focusing on core and upper body workouts.
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Old 04-02-08, 08:03 AM   #7
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Yoga, ashtanga or power if you want a workout, bikram if you want a workout and heat acclimation, any style if you just want stretching.

Bikram yoga class I go to is about 30-40% male so you dont have to worry about being the token male and feeling you dont belong
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Old 04-02-08, 08:53 AM   #8
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pilates has helped my cycling a great deal. It's also helped my back.

Your back shouldn't be arched, by the way. Nor should it be hunched.

Working on your core strength will probably help.
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Old 04-02-08, 03:59 PM   #9
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I'm kind of curious to see if anyone has had similar problems that were taken care of by focusing on core and upper body workouts.
I have to say that I really don't know any difference. Good posture and regular workouts (including core strength) are part of my workday, so I can't say if I've done any long-term riding in any other condition.
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Old 04-02-08, 05:40 PM   #10
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While your pain may be helped by stretching, yoga, exercise, etc. I would be concerned with trying to find the cause of the pain first. Your riding position and fit descriptions are hard to comment on without knowing the type of bike and the actual setup. However, one thing that I found that relieved a lot of pressure on my shoulders was to make sure the saddle was at least level if not nose high. Also, lowering the bars help me as well. There are a lot of variable thought that will be unique to you. Stem length, bar shape, hand position, how long have you been riding, and on the list goes. A picture of your bike may help if there is something that looks out of place on the bike. The bike should fit you, you don't need to fit the bike.
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Old 04-03-08, 12:20 PM   #11
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Thank you for the comments so far.

I really need to increase my core and upper body workouts, as they're slide back and forth between sparse and non-existent.

And, of course, bike fit is still questionable on my end. I won't be able to get a professional fit done until early next year. Until then I'll have to manage. I can post a photo of my setup later tonight or some time this weekend.
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Old 04-03-08, 02:26 PM   #12
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I have been battling the pain you describe for years.Dr.says arthritis, some days hurts bad some days not at all. I too would be interested in any types of solutions
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Old 04-06-08, 12:46 AM   #13
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After many years on regular bikes I finally bought a recumbent. The difference is phenominal, they are built for comfort, and makes you want to cycle longer and more often.
Mine is a long wheel base model but even the power is supported at your hips which are in turn supported by the seat back.
Bottom line is, comfort at all levels, even powering up hills is better.
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Old 04-06-08, 05:32 AM   #14
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gravel road

do they make one that could be ridden on gravel or dirt trails?Probably a stupid question
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Old 04-06-08, 03:31 PM   #15
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Short wheel base models have quick response time, but not made for competition.

There are a couple recumbent trail riders on youtube.

Recumbents are initially expensive, but hold thier value much more than conventional bikes, which are a dime-a-dozen it seems.

Pain is nasty, and can make life miserable, recumbents will induce a grin that you simply cannot get rid of, that's the only problem with them.
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Old 04-08-08, 08:11 PM   #16
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Neck and back pain. Do you have any injuries that may be affecting your fit? I have a vertebrae problem that causes problems when I crane my neck too hard for too long a period. Riding for long periods in the drops can cause me to do so. After riding anything I can my hands on for over 10 years, I am still adjusting my position. Push your elbows down toward your hips, not forward. Arch your back slightly, and you will take pressure off your shoulders.
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Old 04-09-08, 10:51 AM   #17
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I get that pain when I do too many push-ups.
Just a thought that some other activity may also affect your cycling.
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