Cycling in Ontario has seen a spike in popularity, trading in the car for a bicycle has become more commonplace than ever. Some cyclists strap on their helmets and ride for exercise or enjoyment while others view cycling as a way to protect the environment from unnecessary emissions.
Although cycling has many benefits, cyclists can be at risk of injury from their sport. The repetitive nature of riding a bike can cause problems with both muscles and joints due to overtraining, poor form, poorly fit bike, or many other factors.
Lower Back pain (LBP) can cause problem for cyclists for a number of reasons. The easiest explanation is the prolonged bending of the back. It doesn’t take a Musculoskeletal (MSK) expert to see that cyclists spend long periods of time in a fixed position. A poorly fit bike or bad body position on the bike can lead to lower back pain due to abnormal wear to the joints along your spine as well a number of muscular imbalances.
How to prevent LBP – There are a few tools you can use to help fight lower back pain while you hit the road on your bike.
Pain in your knees can be caused by several factors, most commonly it is due to poorly adjusted cleats or pedals forcing your feet out of alignment with your knees however improper seat height, prior knee injuries, poor cycling form, muscle imbalance or overtraining can cause knee pain.
How to prevent knee pain – There are a few things to look for when trying to determine the cause of your knee pain.
If you have had a prior injury to your knee, hip or ankles your seat height, pedal positioning and other bio-mechanics will need to adapt. If you have been cleared by a health care professional (such as your chiropractor) to ride it is a good idea to get an assessment from a qualified bike fitter to ensure you are not causing re-injury.
Muscle imbalance is quite common in cyclists since certain muscles will be strengthened by the exercise while other supporting musculature may not. It is a good idea to find an exercise to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in your leg to maintain balance. For beginner riders it is important to start out slow and not seek massive gains in distance, speed, time or effort too quickly. Your body will need time to adjust to a change in activity.
Pain in your shoulders while riding can be caused by carrying stress in your shoulders while riding, poor body position on the bike or a poorly fit bike.
The most common cause of wrist pain is a very aggressive cycling position that causes you to put a lot weight on your handlebars. Try to move your hand position around on your handlebars as much as possible to avoid the same position for extended periods of time.
If you’re thinking about taking up cycling talk to your chiropractor before you strap on the helmet and hit the road. Together you will be able to identify potential injury concerns and ensure you get off to an injury free start. If you are experiencing pain, numbness or tingling or other MSK problems while riding your chiropractor will also be able to provide treatment and advice to treat these problems.