Bike Tech: Chronic Shoulder & Neck Pain While Aero

author : FitWerx
comments : 0

I went in for a fitting because I had been having chronic stabbing pain in my shoulder/neck whenever I ride for more than 30 minutes. I'm planning a half Ironman this summer, any help for this?

Question from Rasher76


I have a road bike with clip on aerobars and have been professionally fit at a local bike store for my current setup. The reason I went in for the fitting is because I had been having chronic stabbing pain in my right shoulder/neck whenever I rode for more than 30 minutes. Only on the right side.

The bike store took all of my measurements and adjusted my fit (it was already pretty close), yet the problem continued.

I'm planning a half Ironman this summer, and would like to be able to get through the bike without my neck seizing up. Any ideas on what else I can do to make adjustments and get more comfortable? I have the same pain whether aero or sitting up.

(I should note that I was diagnosed with a mild case of scoliosis when I was in Jr. High. It wasn't treated. Do you think that an imbalance may have something to do with my pain?)

Answer

Your stabbing pain in the neck could certainly be influenced by your scoliosis or more specifically a leg length difference or functional imbalance of your hips that may have originally influenced that condition. This does not mean that it can’t be relieved or reduced with a positioning change. Without working with you directly in person or seeing your actual position on the bike it’s difficult for me to judge what may or may not help, but I’ll give you some ideas of things that could work.

If your stabbing pain is being caused by a pinched nerve then adjusting the way your weight is supported and/or adjusting the way your muscles are positioned over that area of your neck may prove helpful. Since you’re riding a road bike with clip-on aerobars and the problem persists in both positions I’ll make the assumption that your torso-to-upper arm angle is similar in both positions or slightly more open while in the aerobars.

 

If you shorten up your reach to the handlebars and/or aerobars you will close off the angle between your torso and upper arm and potentially relieve that area of your upper back which is experiencing pain. The idea is to get better skeletal support with your upper arms and reduce the amount of muscular support of your upper back in that position. When you’re better supported with your skeletal system your upper back tends to relax and you can more effectively relax your spine under your shoulder blades. This action will relieve pressure between the spine and the muscle groups that run over the spine.

Outside of adjusting your position on the bike, I recommend seeking out a reputable physical therapist or doctor that could give your better direction about what exactly is causing your pain. Once the actual cause is known, it will be easy for a bike fitter to make adjustments to relieve that area of your back.

 

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date: April 20, 2009

FitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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