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Shoulder Pain

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Shoulder Pain

Old 09-06-13, 06:45 PM
  #1  
RFEngineer
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Shoulder Pain

I am 32 years old, 5'10" and ride a 58cm (horizontal top tube) road bike. I picked up riding again in May after a several year hiatus. I put an 8 cm stem (from an 11 cm) on this bike several months ago after I realized how far I was having to reach to get to the hoods.

A week ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my shoulder/back of my neck. I really couldn't rotate my head without significant pain. It got better as the day went on, but I still went to my doctor who sent me to a physical therapist. That has been helping and the PT has been talking to me about exercises to do and my posture, etc.

I noticed on my ride home, today, that I was riding with my shoulders in a shrugged position and now I am wondering if this could be a problem. Is it normal to ride this way? I have a feeling my bike frame/stem is still too big. Could this be causing some of my shoulder problems?

Thanks!
Alan
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Old 09-06-13, 07:01 PM
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Sounds like you really need a fitting done by an expert. Your upper-body should be somewhat relaxed when riding on the hoods. Shortening the stem makes steering extra twitchy which isn't ideal. I'm 6'1 and ride a 58.2 " top tube and it's not like it's small for me.
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Old 09-07-13, 12:43 PM
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Hi,

I checked my bike and the centre of the front tube horizontally to the centre
of the seatpost is 55cm. 90mm stem. 5'8". My shoulders only shrug if I try
to get low, which I don't do very often. I relax on the bike and just bend
the elbows a little on the low set bull horns. Not very racy but I'm 50+.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 09-07-13, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
I am 32 years old, 5'10" and ride a 58cm (horizontal top tube) road bike. I picked up riding again in May after a several year hiatus. I put an 8 cm stem (from an 11 cm) on this bike several months ago after I realized how far I was having to reach to get to the hoods.

A week ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my shoulder/back of my neck. I really couldn't rotate my head without significant pain. It got better as the day went on, but I still went to my doctor who sent me to a physical therapist. That has been helping and the PT has been talking to me about exercises to do and my posture, etc.

I noticed on my ride home, today, that I was riding with my shoulders in a shrugged position and now I am wondering if this could be a problem. Is it normal to ride this way? I have a feeling my bike frame/stem is still too big. Could this be causing some of my shoulder problems?

Thanks!
Alan
I don't know if you ride on a bike with dropped bars or a more upright style. With upright bars, many people end up in a slouch just because it isn't easy to maintain an open, upright posture for a significant time. With a dropped bar bike, rounding and scrunching is a sign of a better fitting needed, just speaking generally. It can be related to too little reach, a poor handlebar to saddle height relationship, handlebar width (going narrower helped me a lot on one of my bikes), and fore-aft weight distribution. Not a simple situation!

But overall, I don't think you need to pull your bars in closer to your saddle, probably the opposite. The 11 could have been too long, and the 8 could be too short. A 3 cm jump is pretty big. Can you try a 9 cm at a reasonable price, or borrow one from a bud?

Have you checked your saddle height, just to start with the most basic? I prefer to measure the cycling inseam, aka pubic bone height (PBH), multiply by 0.883, and set your saddle at that height rather precisely, measuring from the center of the BB to the top of the saddle. From there there are several common adjustment rules, then we move on to fore/aft knee placement. I don't like to think too much about reach to bars or stem length until the saddle basics are confirmed, but I do think it's worthwhile to try a 9. I also like to do these measurements and figurings in millimeters, since I have found that very small adjustments can make a big difference.

Last edited by Road Fan; 09-07-13 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 09-11-13, 12:42 PM
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I must say that the right place to ask these questions is at a good bike store with a fitter. I would absolutely pay for a serious pro fit at a well known bike store with an experienced bike fitter. I am 6' and ride a 58cm bike that is a tad too large but I put on a short stem too. I need the more upright position due to my particular body issues but -most- 58cm bikes would definitely be too large for most people your height. Your seat aft/forward position comes into play too. We can guess all we want but in the end you really -must- have a knowledgeable person help you, even if it's to tell you the bike is too big.
The shrugged shoulders seem odd...I'd think that would be the result of a too-small bike but a 58cm wouldn't normally be small for somebody your height.
Once you get to a person who can really give you some feedback on this...in person...there is still a lot to be learned in terms of relaxing and learning to get your core stronger so you can hold yourself up a bit and thereby take weight off your hands. It took me about three seasons of serious riding before I really was able to start to rotate my pelvis and get weight off my hands. You'd think riding a bike would be easy...
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Old 09-11-13, 07:38 PM
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Or at least someone in the same room who can see you and your bike , maybe ride along

will you have to pay them? I dont know.
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Old 09-12-13, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
I am 32 years old, 5'10" and ride a 58cm (horizontal top tube) road bike..
A week ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my shoulder/back of my neck.

...II noticed on my ride home, today, that I was riding with my shoulders in a shrugged position and now I am wondering if this could be a problem.
Yes, posture is the first thing most riders need to review, both for comfort and performance


Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
IIs it normal to ride this way?
Yes, for many. Many don;t know how to/can't ride any other way, by their choice. 'Normal' doesn't necessarily mean good, proper, optimum. In this case means 'bad, worse, awful'.

Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
I I have a feeling my bike frame/stem is still too big. Could this be causing some of my shoulder problems?

Thanks!
Alan
That is not immediately obvious from just some text, but percentages say that it's very likely. And the compensations you'll likely make for ill matched equipment will not fully solve the issues. A bike which is too long will contribute greatly to the shoulder shrugging thing and make it difficult overcome with good intent. Once you do make some equipment compensations on the bike, the handling and stability will suffer greatly, to the point of actually increased risk of crashing.
If road cycling of any sort seems to be something you wish to do consistently, then I'd consider getting a bike which is sized to give you a broader range of fitting and posture options.
There are many ways to do this - some can self-educate, some need to be shown the way. But that's another topic, for another thread.
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Old 09-14-13, 07:28 PM
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Perhaps your PT mentioned this exercise. It really solved my problems, and I do it several times on every ride. You have to really squeeze hard -- think of it as body building rather than stretching.

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Old 09-19-13, 12:07 AM
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Wow!

5'10 and riding a 58cm bike? I'm surprised that you can even get that size to fit you properly; I had to change from a 120mm stem to a 60mm stem to get proper torso fit on my Specialized Allez 58cm (I'm 6'1). I don't know if anyone has given you this advice, but you need to get a smaller frame! Just exchange it with someone who has a 56cm/55cm frame, even a 54cm would be better made to fit you than a 58cm.
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