Cycling has become an increasingly popular recreational and competitive sport. From bicycle commuters to avid racing cyclists, this wonderful form of exercise and transportation can, unfortunately, also result in injuries. These injuries stem from overuse, insufficient preparation, incorrect equipment and poor technique. SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers examines the types of cycling injuries and healing options available from their chiropractors in the Belmont, NC and Gastonia, NC centers.
Types of Cycling Injuries
Neck and Back
Usual complaints, such as neck aches and backaches, result from the cyclist’s upper body position. Poor riding posture may result in hyperextending the neck and flexing the lower back. Overextending the neck happens when riders adopt the forward body position, common in cycling, and then extend their necks when looking up, especially while using aerodynamic bars. The muscles tighten when the neck extends, which causes trigger points to form and compresses the spinal joints.
Thoracic outlet syndrome causes discomfort in the shoulder and down the arm, as the thoracic outlet (the space between the collarbone and the first rib) is tightly packed with nerves, muscles and blood vessels. This condition produces a radiating pain in a number of areas including the hand, forearm, upper arm, side of the neck, or upper back. Cyclists in particular often feel symptoms at the base of the neck.
About one-third of all cycling overuse injuries involves the hands. Riders may experience handlebar palsy, which presents with numbness, tingling or weakness in the ring and little fingers. Cyclists may also feel pain in their lower arms and especially the elbows. This condition results from compression of the ulnar nerve, which runs from the shoulder down to the hand. The nerve can get compressed while gripping the handlebars. Also, the nerve may be stretched or hyperextended from using the lower drop-down handlebar.
Another less common overuse injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, may occur when a rider holds the top handlebars and applies pressure directly on the median nerve. The cyclist may feel numbness of the thumb, index and ring finger. The numbness can be very intense, even waking someone from sleep.
Cyclists may suffer from numerous lower extremity injuries, including knee pain,patellar quadriceps tendinitis, IT band syndrome, hip pain, shin splints, and stress fractures. With each of these injuries presenting from overuse, poor form, or improperly fitted cycling equipment, they each also require attuned evaluation from a trained medical professional. The chiropractic team at SouthEast Chiropractors: The Motion Centers will look to remedy the problem from thorough medical history and physical evaluations and will not only assist in dealing with the immediate pain but also with resolving the cause of the problem.
Foot problems involve issues such as metatarsalgia (or "hot foot"), numbness, nerve irritation and plantar fasciitis. Hot foot results from focused pressure on the foot during hard pedaling and causes pain in the ball of the foot. Cyclists with high arches and excessive pronators suffer from this more frequently due to increased pressure on the ball of the foot. According to MayoClinic.com, plantar fasciitis is common in active men age 40-70, and it is the most common complaint seen by medical professionals pertaining to the foot.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Cycling Injuries
Nonsurgical management may include rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injection, ice, lowering training intensity, orthotics, night splints, and physical therapy.
Chiropractic Treatment for Cycling Injuries
SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers practice natural, drugless, non-invasive health care and rely on the body's ability to self-heal. Our concentration on musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders really encompasses the overall person. Chiropractic treatment offers patients assistance with neuromusculoskeletal conditions including neck pain, back pain, joint pain and numerous other ailments.
Riders will appreciate chiropractors’ musculoskeletal expertise as well as their crucial knowledge of the interconnections between nerves, muscles and joints. As professional health care practitioners, chiropractors can help reduce pain and muscle tightness by utilizing gentle spinal manipulation. Chiropractic adjustments help to restore proper joint movement. They can also address the muscle trigger points to alleviate discomfort. Chiropractic treatment from SouthEast Chiropractic seeks to treat from the inside out, with a wellness approach, that heals the body and eliminates the pain, not just treating the pain symptoms.
Some chiropractors can create custom orthotics to place in your bike shoes. Orthotics can help address forefoot and knee pain from poor biomechanics on the bike. For example, for a rider with hot foot, orthotics can balance your foot and redistribute weight away from the ball of the foot. Knee pain may result from excessive foot pronation which causes misalignment, knee strain, and potentially, collapsed arches. Certain orthotics can provide support from the ball of the foot, through the arch and to the heel to reduce this problem.
Chiropractors may evaluate patients through clinical exams, laboratory tests, and diagnostic imaging to determine whether chiropractic treatment is appropriate. The practitioner may choose to refer the patient to another health care provider or work as a team member for their patient’s care. SouthEast Chiropractic has numerous modalities for treatment and can offer services ranging from massage to acupuncture, or manual alignments to spinal and postural screenings.
SouthEast Chiropractic treatment options include both therapeutic and corrective exercises, including stretches. We also offer nutritional assessments, lifestyle advice,and physiotherapy treatments- moist heat therapy, cryotherapy, mechanical traction, ultrasound, and interferential electrical muscle stimulation. For cyclists, chiropractors may be able to provide helpful information on cycling posture improvements and ways to prevent further injury and pain.
Cycling Injury Prevention
Having a properly fitted bike can go a long way toward preventing these types of overuse injuries. Cyclists can consult with their local bicycle shops to address bicycle fit and alignment issues. So, instead of hunching over and craning your neck, the cyclist can strive to keep the spine in neutral alignment.
Your chiropractor can help you adopt the proper cycling posture and can reduce injury and pain. Your posture outside of your atheletic field is also important on your overall wellness and prevention of future pain and injury.
Cyclists may experience a wide variety of painful injuries while pursuing their sport. Many of these injuries can be prevented through professional bike fitting and proper posture. An injured rider has a number of ways to handle their pain. Chiropractic treatment offers professional medical care centered on the interplay between nerves, muscles and joints. It can provide effective, drug-free healing for injured riders. SouthEast Chiropractic in Gastonia, NC and Belmont, NC would like to offer a free initial consultation to new patients. Just click the button below and submit your information for a contact from one of our offices!