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Old 06-07-10, 06:46 PM   #1
Arcanum
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Weird Shoulder Problem; Suggestions?

I have a weird shoulder problem. After cycling for "a while" continuously (where "a while" starts at around 6 miles and goes up from there), I will sometimes start getting tingling and pain in my right shoulder. It doesn't always happen, and it isn't particularly consistent in terms of distance or speed ridden. Once it starts, though, it will persist and tend to get worse over time. In extreme cases it may even persist in a much more mild form in following days.

The weird part, aside from the inconsistency in distance and speed, is that it's only my right shoulder; my hands, legs, arms, left shoulder, etc., are all fine. It's also not exactly my shoulder, even. It's actually a spot right along my spine, about 2-3 inches below my neck.

The pain isn't sharp like a bone pain or pinched nerve; it's more of a tingling ache.

I realize I should see a doctor about this, and intend to once I get decent general practitioner in my area, but does anyone have any ideas in the mean time? I have a flat-bar commuter bike, but changing hand positions doesn't seem to have much effect.
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Old 06-11-10, 09:34 AM   #2
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Question: Are you right handed / tend to use your computer mouse with your right hand?

I've been having ongoing issues with my right shoulder for awhile now, it's starting to get better with a mix of stretching, physio therapy and a cortisone injection.

With me, my right shoulder was rolled forward slightly causing a slight impingement.

Been doing stuff to increase the strength of my upper back / shoulder / external rotation has been helping calm things down a bit.

The way my doctor explained it - the shoulder is tilted/rolled forward a bit (I work as a software developer, sitting in-front of a PC all day mousing with my right arm and not in the best ergonomic setup). This causes some of the tendons to 'slip out' of where they should be, and can also lead to them pinching (weird tingly ache).

I found that flat-bar tends to put more strain on my shoulders than drops, and little bumps/etc transferred more jarringly to my upper body - riding in drops has calmed down some of my shoulder pain while cycling.

Try stretching things out - a good one is to rest your arm bent at a door frame / corner and lean forward to stretch out the chest - these muscles can get really tight and pull your shoulder out of alignment, put some ice onto it to reduce inflammation. And, go see your doc -- I've just been dealing with some shoulder issues myself and passing along advice that's been working for me given by my Physio / Sports doctor.
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Old 06-11-10, 04:27 PM   #3
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Are your neck and shoulders relaxed when you ride or do you ride stiff and "tensed up"? Are your elbows bent?

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Old 06-11-10, 04:33 PM   #4
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I am right handed, and do work in IT.

I'm pretty relaxed I think. Elbows are slightly bent. Due to surgery in my teens, I couldn't actually lock my elbows if I wanted to.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:01 PM   #5
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I realize I should see a doctor about this, and intend to once I get decent general practitioner in my area, but does anyone have any ideas in the mean time? I have a flat-bar commuter bike, but changing hand positions doesn't seem to have much effect.
Skip seeing the MD, they don't get much training in dealing with issues that aren't infections or trauma, and this doesn't sound like either.
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Old 06-12-10, 04:56 AM   #6
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Do you have pain at that area whether riding or not ? Have you ever had a neck or back injury ? What is your age & how fit are you ?
It may be something in your spine, or it just may be your riding position, etc.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:32 AM   #7
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Do you have pain at that area whether riding or not ? Have you ever had a neck or back injury ? What is your age & how fit are you ?
It may be something in your spine, or it just may be your riding position, etc.
No, no pain generally. I have had a back injury or two in the past, but that was way back when I was just a kid (not even my teens). I'm 30 and in pretty decent shape (largely due to riding practically everywhere).
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Old 06-12-10, 10:33 AM   #8
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I am right handed, and do work in IT.

I'm pretty relaxed I think. Elbows are slightly bent. Due to surgery in my teens, I couldn't actually lock my elbows if I wanted to.
Might want to skip the general physician and see if you can get an appointment with a Sports Doctor. I know in Canada, seeing a sports doc is free, although the follow up Physio cost some money, but my works health insurance covered it.
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Old 06-12-10, 12:13 PM   #9
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Might want to skip the general physician and see if you can get an appointment with a Sports Doctor. I know in Canada, seeing a sports doc is free, although the follow up Physio cost some money, but my works health insurance covered it.
My goal would probably be to get a referral, yeah, unless I happen to get a GP that knows sports stuff.

I should point something out regarding fit: This problem has persisted across two different bikes. Both are hybrid-style (flat bar) bikes, but the previous one is significantly more upright than my current Kona. For that reason, and the fact that it's only one shoulder, I personally doubt that it's just a fit issue.
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Old 06-13-10, 05:02 AM   #10
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No, no pain generally. I have had a back injury or two in the past, but that was way back when I was just a kid (not even my teens). I'm 30 and in pretty decent shape (largely due to riding practically everywhere).
I had several back & neck injuries when I was a kid, also. Once I turned about 36 , my back & neck has hurt somewhat every day. I had neck surgery to alleviate collapsed spinal cord in my neck. This caused pain , tingling, & numbness thru my right shoulder, but all the way to fingertips. Maybe try to do some exercizes that build up the back, neck, & shoulder muscles . Try a more upright hybrid type bike for awhile & see if that helps. I added an upright handlebar stem to my mountain bike . If these don't help, maybe see a chiropractor & get an Xray from him to see if there is a problem in your upper back/lower neck area.
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