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Shoulder pain on my very first long distance tour

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Shoulder pain on my very first long distance tour

Old 03-29-13, 01:59 AM
  #1  
Biztourer
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Shoulder pain on my very first long distance tour

I went from daily rides of no more than an hour or two to biking every day for 8 hours with no training in between. My trap muscles in my left shoulder started hurting the second day in. It's now the 7th day and over 170 miles in and my shoulder still hurts in the same place/way after long rides. I gave myself 3 days rest in between the 2nd day and the next ride. I do about 50 km or 30 miles per day. No amount of resting seems to rid me of the sharp pain which occurs most frequently when going downhill. I raised the handlebars and adjusted the seat then went riding for about an hour. the pain returned. I don't know if I should keep on or give up and go hitchhiking instead. Thoughts/experiences?

More details:

I am riding a hybrid diamondback hybrid road bike. The top bar of the frame forms a "v" with the seat post, which is raised high for full leg extension. The handlebars are a straight bar.. My tour is planned to go another 4 months. I've always had to switch hand positions on the handlebars to stay comfortable on this bike which didn't seem like a problem until the ache started. Now I'm seeing everything and anything as a potential problem.
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Old 03-29-13, 08:21 AM
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Chris Pringle
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If you want/can, post pics of the current bike set up and another set of pics of you on the bike (w/ ALL the gear you carry.) Somehow your riding style seems to be putting too much pressure on your shoulder(s). Are you riding with a backpack?
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Old 03-29-13, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Biztourer View Post
Now I'm seeing everything and anything as a potential problem.
Now you know why it's important to do some training and test-rides before you leave on tour!

Unfortunately, diagnosing this problem over the Internet may be next to impossible. You'll get 37 different ideas from 20 different people. As you know, there are just too many things on the bike that can have an impact on neck and shoulder comfort. Are your handlebars the right width? Are the levers in the optimal position? Does your flat bar have the right about of rise and sweep? Is the handlebar at the right height? The right distance from the saddle?

On my flat-bar mountain bikes, I've found that the sweep of the handlebar plays a big part in determining whether my hands go numb during a long ride. On my drop-bar road and touring bikes, bar width is critical to keeping my neck and shoulders happy.

If you can make it to a decent-size town with a good bike shop, you might stop in and ask them for help with bike fit. Fixing fit problems isn't always obvious or intuitive...
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Old 03-29-13, 01:06 PM
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arctos
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I had shoulder pain on one tour years ago. Cure was re-centering handlebar which was off center by one half inch putting more pressure on one shoulder.
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Old 03-29-13, 02:15 PM
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Raise bar as high as possible. Change stem to facilitate higher bar.

Take frequent breaks. During break, lie on your back with tennis ball between you and ground, lift your butt with legs and roll the ball around to apply pressure to afflicted areas of back/shoulder. You can also do this leaning against a wall, in which case it helps to put ball in a long sock and hold with one hand to aid in positioning and prevent ball from dropping away. Sounds like you've got some knots in your back, which is not rare. Therapeutic 6" diameter foam rollers are made for this purpose, but a tennis ball is cheaper and more tour-friendly.
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Old 03-31-13, 06:58 PM
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Doug64
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Like sstorkkel said, "Unfortunately, diagnosing this problem over the Internet may be next to impossible. You'll get 37 different ideas from 20 different people."

However, some things are worth a shot, and don't cost anything but a little time. You said you repositioned your seat. One thing that can lead to shoulder pain is a saddle that slopes downward at the nose. This causes the rider to keep pushing as they slide down. It can be pretty subtle. If you have not done it check the levelness of your saddle. It should be level or just a hair high in the front.
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Old 03-31-13, 07:21 PM
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You might try reading over the articles on shoulder, back, and neck pain here:
http://www.cptips.com/xtocdet.htm#medical



And yes, it is very important to do some long rides before you set off on a 4 month tour riding a hybrid. What seems comfortable for 1 hour may end up being a whole different story after 4 hours or 8 hours. Unfortunately, it is a little late for you now.


You haven't posted back, but are you wearing anything on your back? Camelbak? Backpack?

When you say you've raised your seatpost for full leg extension, you don't really mean "full" leg extension, right? You've got a bit of a bend in your knee, right? If you have gone with full leg extension, are you rocking in the saddle?
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Old 03-31-13, 08:21 PM
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Ok, so after two days of riding you're getting sharp shoulder pain because you've gone from 1-2hrs of riding to 8hrs of riding. This is a little confusing as it appears you are taking 8hrs to go 30miles? Either way it seems to me you might consider riding as you did before in one or two hours with one or two hour breaks. My gut feeling is that if this is occurring so soon in a trip there's more than riding too much going on unless your normal riding pace is 4miles an hour in which case 30miles is too much.

Try getting off the bike every hour and stretching.
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Old 03-31-13, 09:35 PM
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Aero bars
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Old 04-01-13, 12:24 AM
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More push ups to strengthen the muscles used,.
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Old 04-01-13, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
If you want/can, post pics of the current bike set up and another set of pics of you on the bike (w/ ALL the gear you carry.) Somehow your riding style seems to be putting too much pressure on your shoulder(s). Are you riding with a backpack?


So there's the bike. Unfortunately had to ditch it in Flers, France and am now hitchhiking. Oh well. Next time ill be doing a lot more training beforehand.
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Old 04-01-13, 02:41 AM
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Impossible to tell what it is over the internet, as it could be one of many problems, but there is a possiblity that it's one of your trapezoid muscles locking up. I used to get this when on a road bike - basically it comes from craning your head up for extended periods of time. The muscle once engaged won't release. The only way to get it to, is to massage it. You can do it yourself, with a tennis ball against a wall, or even the edge of a wall. It hurts like hell, but does the trick, after a while.
You can usually tell if it's ths as the pain is around the inner side of the shoulder blade and the muscle feels thick and painful when pressed.
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Old 04-01-13, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Biztourer View Post


So there's the bike. Unfortunately had to ditch it in Flers, France and am now hitchhiking. Oh well. Next time ill be doing a lot more training beforehand.

Is that really the angle of your saddle??? With the nose pointed down at that angle??? If so, no wonder you were having shoulder problems!!!

Did you try to flatten the saddle at all?
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Old 04-01-13, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Is that really the angle of your saddle??? With the nose pointed down at that angle??? If so, no wonder you were having shoulder problems!!
This suggestion fits well with what Gotte suggested. He was leaning so far forward/down that he had to crane his neck up for long periods of time.
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Old 04-01-13, 06:51 AM
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That, and if that really was the angle of his saddle, he probably spent the whole time pushing back in order to stay on the bicycle. His triceps are probably killing him too.
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Old 04-01-13, 06:20 PM
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Bare metal bars for hand grips. Looks like wheelies would be easy
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