Neck pain the morning after cycling..

by Shades   December 4, 2013  

I've just got rid of a suspension seat post on my old 2000 aluminium frame Cannondale Hybrid; primarily because it was old with quite a lot of sideways play and it was just heavy. I replaced it with a light Thomson in-line seatpost; possibly an error as it moved the saddle position very slightly forward, although it seemed OK when I set it up (height and front/back position). I do an 18 mile (one way) commute once or twice a week (train on the other days) on cycle paths and I certainly noticed the loss of the suspension post on the bumps. I woke up one morning with what felt like a whiplash injury and cast an accusing eye at the bike. The snag is, just before the seatpost change, I fitted carbon forks (prev steel) and new stem etc as the old headset was worn out with the old stem siezed to the forks. The LBS reckon they got the set up pretty close to the old stem which was an old adjustable version (also heavy). I also put new narrower higher pressure tyres on as well. I'm not sure whether I should have used a set back seat post, but then being slightly more upright should be better for your neck, or the loss of the suspension post has meant that I'm feeling all the bumps. Although I'm really pleased with the new front end changes, I'm not sure they might also be contributing. I'm inclined just to stick with things for a while and see if I just get used to the changes for fear of running up a huge bill buying different components. I've read that being too 'laid out' on the bike is tough on your neck, but then being too upright means your spine takes all the shocks. Being an old aluminium frame it's going to be a 'hard' ride anyway.

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I dont know enough about bike set ups to comment thoroughly but have you thought about going to see a chiropractor ?

maybe you have a neck / spine problem that the suspension post was masking and the chiropractor may help. It did for me.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3040 posts]
4th December 2013 - 13:32

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Bar height same as before?

If so, plus your old seatpost had a slight layback / offset, could it be more weight on your hands/arms and therefore neck pain?

Did you change your grips at all?

posted by Super Domestique [1664 posts]
4th December 2013 - 14:16

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Good point. I do see a Chiro 3-4 times a year for some 'maintenance' following a slipped disc 18 years ago. He always finds something to 'adjust', but then he needs to justify his £42 and keep me coming back. He might find something next time I'm there. I've had a road bike since May which doesn't give me any problems; mind you it's steel so supposedly has a bit of 'spring' in it.

Shades

posted by Shades [255 posts]
4th December 2013 - 14:56

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The LBS said they kept the bar height pretty close but I can't verify that. The old set up was a pretty odd adjustable system so I'm sure they did their best. The grips are the originals, but I have spotted some better ergo/padded ones around. Could be a cheap upgrade; even if it didn't solve the neck pain, they'd be more comfortable.

Shades

posted by Shades [255 posts]
4th December 2013 - 15:00

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I'd keep an eye on it for the time being unless the pain is not going away or gets worse: you've changed a lot of things in a short time, after all. Do you do any foam rolling or similar after riding? I'm always amazed at the number of clicks and cracks from my neck and back when I do but I always feel a lot better afterwards.

posted by Sadly Biggins [267 posts]
4th December 2013 - 18:41

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The LBS workshop was pretty quiet and they offered me a (free) follow-up visit to check on all the upgrades they fitted. While the bike was in I got some Ergon grips fitted, which, initially, feel a bit 'odd' but your hands are really well supported. The LBS view on any aches and pains were to give yourself some time to get used to the changes.

Shades

posted by Shades [255 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:14

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Did you only get the pain once? Or have you had it repeatedly? I can understand that you might not like to investigate the process whereby you obtained it, but sometimes you need to test it. It could be that your suspension seat post did mask a weakness in your neck, but that subsequently your neck is now stronger. You can only determine that from repeating the experiment.

Otherwise, do some head nodding and turning to improve your neck strength and mobility (not neck rolls - these are seen as too dynamic) unless your slipped disc is cervical.

Slipped discs are often symptomatic of postural problems - for instance something as simple as an overbite can lead to having your head too far forward, which increases the thoracic curvature, or shortened hip flexors can lead to an excessive lumbar curve. These issues can then lead to problems elsewhere, so a trip to the chiropractor or physiotherapist could help to determine any more deep seated issues. But a regular overall mobility/stretching routine is very important and can help ward off these sorts of problems.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1436 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:44

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I can't quite find the right video (this guy did a project where he did a Mobility Work-Out of the Day - MWOD - for a whole year and posted it - so there are a lot). But he talks about the effect of over-bites and head positioning. But in this video he shows very keenly what the effect of not having good head positioning is - poor posture has effects right through the body, but you can see what happens to your strength and power from having the head in the wrong position:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMaBxBQvEyA

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1436 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:52

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Have you had a proper bike fit on the bike you're currently riding?

posted by Tigerwests [4 posts]
9th December 2013 - 14:03

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I'm going to dig out my Chiropractor stretches chart, which I normally only use for occasional lower back pain, and concentrate on the neck exercises. Ref a pro bike fitting. I've never had one but thought it might be a good thing for the road bike; possibly a good Xmas present from someone! A work mate had one and he ended up with a reasonable bill for new bits to adjust his position. At £40ish per trip to the Chiro, having to pay for the odd component change isn't that much of an issue.

Shades

posted by Shades [255 posts]
10th December 2013 - 13:00

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