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  1. #1
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    Any ideas to relieve neck pain from riding ?

    My wife is just starting to get into cycling & we're thinking of participating in a week long ride in June (The Great Ohio Bike Adventure). The problem is that although she enjoys riding the bike, whenever she rides for more that 30 min.'s, the back of her neck begins to hurt & the pain lasts for a couple of days. If we can't get this figured out, the GOBA will be out for this year. Note, she rides a Trek 7100 Hybrid with upright handle bars. We have tried adjusting both seat height & handle bar height, but nothing seems to help.

  2. #2
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    Neck pain can be very difficult to track down.

    Position can be one and you are trying to address that.

    Rider tension can be one. If she is tensing up too much and not changing position, it could cause some discomfort.

    Other issues may be causing the pain such as back or seat problems. These mostly are resolved by position though.

    The 7100 is a fairly upright and comfortable model so I don't think you many options on the traditional bikes. Other frame style options would be a pedal/crank forward bike or a recumbent. I have a neighbor whose wife has back problems. She rides a recumbent and he rides a traditional road frame. They ride fairly frequently and take their bikes with them on holidays.

  3. #3
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    Handle bar reach may be an issue, try adjusting the seat fore/aft position, and/or a shorter stem. My wife had the same problem utill a mechanic looked at it ad said, "Lady, your seat is way to far back". He moved it forward, and it helped a great deal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    First check her position on the bike like others have said and then try to make sure that her shoulders are not hunched, that her elbows are not locked, that her grip on the bars is not a death grip and that she relaxes her neck muscles. New riders can be a little tense.

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    You know, a lot of people just won't accept this advice, but you should fight the natural tendency to assume an even more upright position is the solution. Very often, it's the opposite. The person needs a longer and/or lower position, to get weight distributed properly for longer riding. It takes some getting used to initially, but it's the correct way in the long run. Nothing anyone can do without having a look at her riding on a trainer.

    For longer rides, she will need to build up gradually. Muscle toning doesn't just happen overnight.

    Leaving that issue aside though, there might be simpler solutions to look at. For example, maybe her helmet is coming down over her forehead to low, forcing her to crane her neck upwards in order to see where she's going. Does she wear glasses when riding? Those can cause problems if they continually drop down lower on the nose.

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    Every thing you need to know about cycling and pain

  7. #7
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    There may be more to it than the bike needing adjustments & posture. I have had a bad neck since my 30's , reconstructive surgery at 50 , & I will probably have to undergo another surgery, or 2, before I kick the bucket.
    Has your wife ever had X-rays to look at the spinal condition of her neck ?

  8. #8
    Herbie
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    The problem could be stress-related. People living under pressure can experience muscle-pain, also in the back & neck area. Cycling will not help getting rid off this pain
    Maybe your wife doesn't sit relaxed enough on the bike? Fear of falling or losing control over the bike will mean all muscles which should be relaxed, will be under pressure and after a while....

  9. #9
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    If,, & ONLY IF, she is able to do this should she even try it. To strengthen neck muscles & relax tension, lie on bed, sideways, & slowly slide upwards til your head is off the bed. It is hurts-STOP. Try to keep your head in a downward position for a minute or so, & get someone to lift your head , at first, to help you up. After awhile, if you can , lift the head up & down a few times, yourself, & stay on the bed longer, to build up the muscles.

  10. #10
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    Try a Townie

    I've had two spinal fusions - a two level back in 1993 and a single level in 2005. I started riding a bike again in 2008 using an old Schwinn Varsity from the early 80's, and my neck was hurting big time. The problem was that my riding position was not upright enough to relieve the pressure on my neck. My handlebars were too low, and they could not be adjusted enough to get me upright.

    I went to my LBS here in Texas and the guy there immediately mentioned an Electra Townie. I did a test ride on it and a couple of other bikes (Trek Navigator and Specialized Expedition (I think it was) and the Townie was the only one that was comfortable. The others hurt my neck within 10 minutes. Their riding position, while fairly upright, was not as comfortable to me as the Townie. I have had the Townie for a year now and no neck pain at all.

    I highly recommend the Townie for riders with neck pain. It saved me from quitting riding.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    If the bike is fitted for her, I would change the handle bars to North Road or On One Mary. Might be surprised how much stress is lessened in the hands, wrists, shoulder, and neck areas and makes longer rides more comfy with an upright riding position bike.

  12. #12
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    Your wifes well being is at issue here. I have two suggestions:

    1.) Take her to be profesionaly fitted at a reputable bike shop. The $100 or so will be well worth your while. Discuss with the profesional the difficulties your wife is experiencing. He should be able to help.
    2.) Try going Recumbent. A Long Wheelbase recumbent is extremely comfortable and the seat position is quite upright.

    You never know, the first suggestion might lead you to number 2, on the other hand the profesional might be able to retro-fit her current bike to alieviate the pain for very lttle additional expense.

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    Everyone has good suggestions. You don't mention if she has had a bone density test to rule out osteopenia or osteoporosis. It might just be weak neck muscles, etc.
    I ride a pedal forward bike (Giant Suede) with North Road handlebars and feel no pain in neck. I only ride up to 11-12 miles at a time. Other bikes bothered my neck immediately on test rides so I went with this. Trek Pure and Electra Townie, etc. are all similar.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Ask your wife if she was ever in an accident. Possibly before you two got married that involved a head injury or neck strain.

    My wife and I have both injured our backs. It has been nearly a decade for me, but I still need to be careful carrying things, and getting into awkward positions....else my lower back aches.
    Regards,
    Jose

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    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Does she wear a helmet with a visor? If so, try taking the visor off. The visor causes one to tilt the head backwards in order to see. While this is really important to do if one is riding a road bike, it may also help your situation. Worth a try.

  16. #16
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sci-Fi View Post
    If the bike is fitted for her, I would change the handle bars to North Road or On One Mary. Might be surprised how much stress is lessened in the hands, wrists, shoulder, and neck areas and makes longer rides more comfy with an upright riding position bike.
    +1

    Plus make sure she is not using one of the super soft gel saddles. Maybe she is "hanging on her hands" due to uncomfy saddle?

  17. #17
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    Has she consulted a chiropractor?

  18. #18
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
    Has she consulted a chiropractor?
    Transferred that pain from neck to wallet...miracle cure!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
    Transferred that pain from neck to wallet...miracle cure!
    OK, first, I am not a chiropractor. Second, some chiropractors claim to be able to cure everything. The majority of chiropractors (where I am from anyway) are reasonable.

    I have used chiropractic treatment for back issues over the last decade. When there are issues I am having with other parts of my body my chiropractor will discuss, diagnose, and adjust, or recommend a treatment. A few times he has recommended I see my MD about an issue, one time he referred me to a cardiologist due to concerns he had.

    Most chiropractors can help alleviate discomfort if you and they take the time to fully discuss your problem and do the workup. Make sure they take the time to do a history, (part of my issues are from a motorcycle accident 30 years ago, that did not begin to cause problems until 10 years ago, a full set of x-rays showed "healed" trauma that fits completely with the impact vectors of my accident) and you explain what the problem is. My suggestion would be to find some people you know to get some recommendations for a chiropractor. Also, if the chiropractor claims to be able to cure cancer, run, run fast away from that office.

    I hope you are able to remedy the neck issues.
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

  20. #20
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Get her a better bicycle.
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

  21. #21
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    The one time I tried riding a recumbent two-wheeler, I nearly broke my neck.

  22. #22
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    I have some issues at with the joints at C5 and C6 which prevent me from riding an aggressive (low) riding position for too long, however the pain is even worse when I ride a hybrid. I find that the way you have to turn your hands out actually creates tension in the neck muscles. I had to sell mine because rides of over an hour were too painful. I now comfortably ride 3 different road bikes with drop bars that are not too low (bars 1-3" above the seat), as well as a mtn bike on weekends with no neck pain at all any more. Stretching is the other component that helps, and not craning when sitting at a computer during the day.

  23. #23
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    Probably you should consider all of the above. The human body is complex, and there may be more than one factor causing the pain.

    My own two cents: I used to get neck pains whenever I toured, and just accepted it as the cost of spending 5-6 hours a day in the saddle. When I started a taking a fencing class a few months ago, the instructor was constantly chiding me about my bad posture. As I've started paying more attention to how I stand, walk, sit, and ride, my neck pain has gone away, along with a lot of other aches and pains I had learned to ignore.

    Cured by something that seemed completely unrelated to cycling.
    Ride out and meet whatever limits you.

    http://www.bicyclefreedom.com/

  24. #24
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Based on the prior post, you should also pay attention to your pillow and mattress. Both can strain your body if incorrectly matched to you.
    Last edited by Silverexpress; 04-30-09 at 12:25 PM.
    Regards,
    Jose

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