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Ongoing neck risks?

luvmyguys2012-08-20 05:23:00 +0000 #1
So I saw my chiropractor today. I mentioned that I was getting back to exercising, and mentioned my plans to get into cycling. (History - I had a laminectomy and partial(?) discectomy in late March. The herniated part of the disc was removed, but not all and I didn't have a fusion. I've healed fairly well, with no real range of motion issues.)

Neurosurgeon didn't have any real restrictions for me, other than moving as tolerated, and advised getting out of high contact competitive sports (it was a karate injury) if I wanted to stay out of his office. I didn't think cycling would be an issue, as it's low impact.

Chiro, on the other hand, advised not cycling over 20-30 miles on a regular basis. Her concern wasn't falling, but posture and its effect on the neck for long periods. My goal is to ride a century or two.

Are her concerns about posture (and overuse, I guess?) legitimate, or is she being overly cautious? I'm determined to find the right bike (upped my bike budget and am leaning toward a Ruby after advice here), I'll pay to have someone fit it correctly if necessary, and I'm not adverse to any sort of stretching/strengthening regimen to make sure that the neck stays safe. But will the prior neck issues pose a problem?

Thanks in advance.


malkin2012-08-20 05:27:10 +0000 #2
Not any kind of expert; I have had some back and neck issues, but no surgeries. My recommendation would be to pay careful attention to your position and bike fit to keep comfortable, and increase your mileage gradually.

And have fun!
goldfinch2012-08-20 05:46:39 +0000 #3
I would do core exercises to keep your body strong to make up for any weakness in the neck. I would work up to riding whatever you can ride, with no hard and fast rules. If you have pain, I would see a PT.

My only expertise is anecdotal; I have a bad neck but with physical therapy and keeping up with core strengthening exercises I can now ride all day.
shootingstar2012-08-20 06:34:30 +0000 #4
Quote:

Chiro, on the other hand, advised not cycling over 20-30 miles on a regular basis. Her concern wasn't falling, but posture and its effect on the neck for long periods. My goal is to ride a century or two.

Are her concerns about posture (and overuse, I guess?) legitimate, or is she being overly cautious? I'm determined to find the right bike (upped my bike budget and am leaning toward a Ruby after advice here), I'll pay to have someone fit it correctly if necessary, and I'm not adverse to any sort of stretching/strengthening regimen to make sure that the neck stays safe. But will the prior neck issues pose a problem?

Would it be a big deal for you to be in a more upright position, ie. not have dropped down handlebars? For now, cycle over smooth surfaces and have shock absorbers to reduce vibration.

I know several cyclists who no longer cycle in dropped down handlebars because of neck /posture issues for very long distances/several hrs. per day of riding.
luvmyguys2012-08-20 06:33:35 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by shootingstar

Would it be a big deal for you to be in a more upright position, ie. not have dropped down handlebars? For now, cycle over smooth surfaces and have shock absorbers to reduce vibration.

I know several cyclists who no longer cycle in dropped down handlebars because of neck /posture issues for very long distances/several hrs. per day of riding.

I'm not adverse to the idea - what limitations does that place on the rider, exactly?

Quote:

Originally Posted by goldfinch

I would do core exercises to keep your body strong to make up for any weakness in the neck. I would work up to riding whatever you can ride, with no hard and fast rules. If you have pain, I would see a PT.

My only expertise is anecdotal; I have a bad neck but with physical therapy and keeping up with core strengthening exercises I can now ride all day.

I'll definitely be doing that - do you use the dropped handlebars or the more upright ones, as mentioned above?
Catrin2012-08-20 06:27:57 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by luvmyguys

I'm not adverse to the idea - what limitations does that place on the rider, exactly?

.....I'll definitely be doing that - do you use the dropped handlebars or the more upright ones, as mentioned above?

Luvmyguys - I've a totally messed up neck (bad disk/arthritis/bone spurs) and arthritis in my hands/palms that don't allow me to put much weight on them. I cannot ride drop bars. Period. Proper bike fit is of paramount importance, even more so when we have physical issues.

The purple bike in this picture is my beloved Gunnar. She is a full custom design and I can ride her all day long without hand or neck discomfort. You will note the lack of drop bars and the grip shifters (high end SRAM).

The blue bike was my Long Haul Trucker (sold a few months back). While not custom, you will note the 2-inch riser bars on her as well - I could also ride her all day long without pain in any part of my body. Proper fit is more important than custom, which is why I mention both bikes. You will note that both bikes have bar-ends on the grips which allow for more hand positions - but I have to say that I've never felt the need to actually use them!

What is the impact of my very upright riding position? I certainly have more wind resistance than someone in a more aerodynamic position, and I won't break any speed records. To me it is more important to be able to ride as long as I want to and to not have pain afterwards.

I concur with Goldfinch, whatever you decide to do, that you should ramp up your mileage base/time in the saddle slowly. Listen to your body more than to a schedule.
luvmyguys2012-08-20 06:07:44 +0000 #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Catrin

Luvmyguys - I've a totally messed up neck (bad disk/arthritis/bone spurs) and arthritis in my hands/palms that don't allow me to put much weight on them. I cannot ride drop bars. Period. Proper bike fit is of paramount importance, even more so when we have physical issues.

The purple bike in this picture is my beloved Gunnar. She is a full custom design and I can ride her all day long without hand or neck discomfort. You will note the lack of drop bars and the grip shifters (high end SRAM).

The blue bike was my Long Haul Trucker (sold a few months back). While not custom, you will note the 2-inch riser bars on her as well - I could also ride her all day long without pain in any part of my body. Proper fit is more important than custom, which is why I mention both bikes. You will note that both bikes have bar-ends on the grips which allow for more hand positions - but I have to say that I've never felt the need to actually use them!

What is the impact of my very upright riding position? I certainly have more wind resistance than someone in a more aerodynamic position, and I won't break any speed records. To me it is more important to be able to ride as long as I want to and to not have pain afterwards.

I concur with Goldfinch, whatever you decide to do, that you should ramp up your mileage base/time in the saddle slowly. Listen to your body more than to a schedule.

Thank you!

I will definitely be ramping up slowly, and listening to my body. I've got a friend (a PT aide) whose PT boss was an avid cyclist at one point. I'm going to get his advice on strengthening and fit, if possible.

I think at this point (subject to change, of course), I may see if I can go with the Ruby and later change the handlebars to allow for a more upright position, if that becomes necessary. Right now, I'm just in spinning, and I'll admit that although the seat is way down, the handlebars are as far up as they can go, so it may become necessary.

I think what I was wanting to know was whether or not it was possible to do the longer rides. I don't need to be fast, I just want to finish. It was that notion that I wanted to explore. Of course, as much as I trust this chiro to know when and how to treat me without making the problem worse, she's also the one who told me at one point that I was reading too much, and that this was causing neck problems. So while I listen to her lifestyle advice, I'm also not afraid to challenge it.

Thanks again!
OakLeaf2012-08-20 06:10:53 +0000 #8
Reading can definitely cause neck problems (at least, reading in an ordinary posture, with a book below eye level, using your hands to hold/turn pages/click page turn). It's one of the things I'm struggling with right now - there are so many things that aggravate my conditions, and reading is one of them. So don't be so quick to dismiss that bit of advice.

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