Member Case Study: Shoulder Pain While Cycling

author : AMSSM
comments : 0
Member Question from jamesehatcher
This might be more of a bike fit problem, although I have been F.I.S.T. fitted. I get a very bad shoulder pain (left side only) when on the bike for over 45 minutes. The pain seems to be between my shoulder blades but only on the left side. My neck also hurts on longer rides(45 minutes to 3 hours). I have over 2000 miles on the bike since going to aero bars. I would think my muscles should have acclimated to the new position.
 
Answer from Mike Busman, MD

The pain you are experiencing is likely the result of spasms in your middle trapezius and/or rhomboid muscles. These muscles are actually in the upper back, although they may appear to be in the shoulder. The pain occurs from frequent or continuous contracture of those muscles. It’s obvious that you have done some research in your problem. It is common to have this problem when you are getting accustomed to a new bike or new aero-bars. However, you have been fitted to your bike and have also put many miles on it. The longer you exercise, the more likely your muscles are to fatigue. When your muscles fatigue, you are likely to loose some form or positioning and favor to one side. Subsequently, these problems tend to occur at longer distances.

 

I would suggest having someone else look at your positioning on the bike in both the regular and aero-bar positions. Also make sure you stay properly hydrated before and during your training. You may want to take a periodic break from the aero positioning to relax those muscles during the ride. After the rides, I would recommend ice to reduce inflammation and possibly massage therapy to those areas to relax the muscles. Anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant medications may be needed to help the symptoms get fully relieved. The key is proper form, fitting, and hydration.

Mike Busman, MD
Sumter Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Center

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date: July 15, 2008

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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