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Neck Pain

It is a common misconception that neck pain is part and parcel of cycling and you just have to put up with it. This is simply not true; you don’t need to suffer in silence anymore.

Firstly, why does neck pain occur when cycling? On the bike, we spend much of the time extending our necks to see in front of us. The human body is just not deigned to spend this amount of time looking upwards. Joints in the spine get compressed, deep flexor muscles in the neck get stretched and postural muscles at the back of the neck are overworked. The good news is that our bodies are extremely adaptable and versatile, so over time our muscles will strengthen, lengthen and do whatever they need to do to support our position on the bike. If you are new to cycling and experiencing neck pain, it would be advisable to persevere for around 4-6 weeks and the symptoms will likely die down as your body adapts. However, if you are an experienced cyclist and still suffering with neck pain after many months or years of riding, we can help.

The main contributing factor to neck pain when cycling is the handlebar position. If the bars are too low or too far away, you will have to hyperextend your neck and overreach with your shoulders to access the hoods. If you find yourself constantly shifting your hand position or spending most of your time holding the tops of the bars rather than the hoods, this is a sure sign that your handlebar position needs adjusting.

Another factor to consider is the width of your handlebars. Bars that are too wide can cause pain in the upper back or neck as those muscles take on extra load to support your body position. The width of the bars should be comparable to the width of your shoulders to allow for equal weight-bearing through all your upper limb joints. This can resolve aching or burning sensations in the upper back or neck and reduce muscle fatigue in your arms on longer rides.

If you have any questions about your neck pain or would like some advice, please contact us or book an appointment for a Bike Fit below.

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